Simons Says - Feb. 14, 2013
It’s Valentine’s day. It’s a day when lovers rejoice and there is hope and happiness in the air.
You are saying, “Hey, Simmons Says (purposely messing up the last name because of your angst at the opening paragraph), what the –Bleep- does Valentine’s Day have to do with basketball and my Wolves?!
Plenty. The Wolves pre-V-day gift to fans might not have been a win but Rick Adelman’s optimistic outlook for the second half of the season might have been. The head coach commented after the 97-93 loss to Utah that “great things are going to happen”. Adelman thinks that with the week of rest, getting back injured All Star and Olympian Kevin Love and forward Chase Buddinger that this Wolves team will be in a much better place for the final weeks of the season.
Boy, a better place would be nice. Just ask any hoopaholic familiar with the rollercoaster that is the Wolves season. Any place than the injury ravaged run they are currently enduring would be sweet. With just 19 wins in 50 games, the Wolves are not meeting fans expectations but then again they aren’t even coming close to the bar they set for themselves either.
After the All Star break, some other blocks on which to build and return to a potential late season run is:
>The return of Andrei Kirilenko after missing a five games due to a strained quad will be welcomed with open arms. His 13-points in 34 minutes a night, his court vision and his leadership are vital to the sustained improvement of Wolves. The International Basketball Federation just recently named Kirilenko its 2012 FIBA Europe Men's Player of the Year. Kirilenko spent last season in Russia playing for CSKA Moscow where he led his team to the EuroLeague Final, a VTB League Championship and a first-place finish in Russia's domestic league, the BEKO PBL. In 17 Euroleague games, Kirilenko averaged 14-points on 60% shooting and AK-47 was named 2012 Euroleague MVP and 2012 Euroleague Best Defender for his efforts.
>With the pack of hurts that’s pounded team T’Wolves, that situation has given last year’s number one pick Derrick Williams another opportunity to shine and he’s getting it done. Against Utah, D-Will nailed a career night with a game- and season-high 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. I’m one of the happiest hoopaholics in Wolves country that D-Will wasn’t peddled earlier this season when more players were on the court and that opportunity was there. The Wolves need depth and getting D-Will going has been great. Credit one Ricky Rubio for helping make that happen. Those to have chemistry, for sure.
> My first half standout is the pride of Eugene, the former Oregon Duck. Luke Ridnour continues to show up this season while fighting through his little aches and pains. Against the Jazz, Ridnour scored 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Luke is averaging 19.0 ppg on 56% shooting over his last five games. I love that Luke has been the Wolves' leading scorer the last three games. And as I mentioned about Ridnour is the only Wolves player to appear in all 50 games (all starts).
>I’m delighted that #9 is getting his game back. Against the Jazz, Ricky Rubio finished just one rebound shy of his first career triple-double, recording a season-high-tying 18 points, 10 assists, a career-high nine rebounds and four steals. Supporting my thought that he’s back, Rubio is now averaging 15-points and 10-assists in 35-minutes per game over his last six games.
Welcome to the break Wolves. 32-games remain. Let’s make it happen. Where there’s time there’s always hope.
Schedule set for Lynx:
Good to see that the 2012 Western Conference Champion Minnesota Lynx will kick off their 15th anniversary season in the WNBA at home against Connecticut on Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m. The 2013 WNBA campaign includes 34 regular-season games, dating from May 24 and Sept. 14. This year’s All-Star Game will be held in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday, July 27. The Lynx will play Western Conference teams Los Angeles (three times on the road, twice at home) and Phoenix (three times at home, twice on the road) five times this season, while facing off with San Antonio, Seattle and Tulsa four times each, twice at home and twice on the road. Minnesota will face all six Eastern Conference teams twice, once at home and once on the road. The 2013 Lynx campaign also includes two nationally broadcast home games on July 9 vs. Atlanta and Aug. 24 vs. Indiana.
See you on TV
Catch your Wolves on this Sunday’s GameON! this week!! You don’t want to miss the Emmy nominated GameON! this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 at 10:30AM. Our special guests include former Gophers standout & now rapper Lawrence “Mac Irv” McKenzie and friend Lil’ Crazed, former Vikings LB E.J. Henderson, Boxing belt holder “Golden” Caleb Truax and fight specialist Tony “Tony Time” Grygelko and Taste of the NFL’s Wayne Kostroski. GameON! originates from our new home, across the street from Target Center at Kieran’s Irish Pub and allGameON! shows are broadcast in High Definition and can be found on iTunes, on our new GameON! App (free and available for Apple/Android) and online at www.gameontvmn.com.
GameON! allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal, to meet your favorite players and fellow fans at our weekly tapings at Kieran’s Irish Pub and its sister locations. GameON! offers in-depth interviews with the top players, great food, sports newsmakers and we get you inside your favorite teams (including the Wolves). You can friend us on FaceBook at GameOnTvMN. Drop me a note, Rod@GameOnTvMn.com. GameON! is also seen in North & South Dakota and Western Minnesota on MidCo SportsNet several times a weekend. We reserve the right to use your e-mails here in SimonsSays at Timberwolves.com.
Keep your GameON! See you soon!