Simons Says - Feb. 27, 2014

This is nice to see.

With the NBA’s seasonal stretch drive in sight, the T’Wolves have switched gears and are now playing with a determination that indicates they do see what is happening. They know the playoffs start in April and, as close as their favorite laptop or tablet, they know that time and number of games don’t quite work to their favor.

Make no mistake, this post-season push is not easy for the Wolves. Injuries have handcuffed the Wolves. Two starters (Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin) out for extended time is bad news.

This push is not impossible. The Wolves need to do it themselves. Offer a finish that would stun the Miami Heat and King James could play a role since the Wolves visit South Beach Friday April 4. Hang on, I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s little choice but to find ways to snag wins in Sacramento this weekend and Denver Monday. Then you’re on a roll after a dynamic Western swing and playing heads-up with 7-weeks to the finish line.

I’ve had several people summarily dismiss me when I told them the Wolves could climb in to the Western Conference 8-team dance on April 17. “Not a chance big boy” a buddy snipped. “What color is that Kool aid you are sipping, Pek purple, Martin maroon?!” Funny but not even close.

You see, as it stands, the Wolves are only 5.5 games back of the 8th and final playoff spot in the West. Phoenix is in that driver’s seat at 33-24 and Memphis is a half game back in the win column. Minnesota can make serious hay over the next few weeks by Winning taking care of games at home and then winning head-to-head games that are dotted all over the schedule.

In Mid-March, the Wolves get Sacramento at home on the 16th then road trip to Texas for back-to-back games with Dallas and Houston. Both playoff worthy and very tough tests for team Adelman. Win those…you have a shot. Lose, the screen fades to static.

Then, big home games to end March with the LA invasion of the Lakers on the 28th and Clippers on the 31st. Sandwich in the Suns at Target Center the 23rd and a visit to Graceland to tangle with the Griz on 24th…we’ve got a mad dash.

Buddy Ben e-mailed me yesterday, “I see you were right on about Shabazz (Muhammad) and him getting some playing time. What’s up with that? Thought he was pining for the ROS”? Ben is a BIG Wolves fan and has been frustrated with the #1 picks lack of playing time. That rest of the season (ROS) comment was sarcastic…Ben and many other fans are pumped for Shabazz. I’m pleased he’s contributing at a time when his offense and focus is needed.

Fans don’t understand sometimes. Lose a starter, it stings. Lose TWO starters who put in 40-points combined and make significant contributions on both ends of the floor every night, you got some trouble.

Shabazz is not the answer and won’t carry the load but his timely help is vital. It’s gonna take a T’Wolves village to earn a playoff ticket. April will be interesting. 8-games, 4 at home and 4 on the road. Miami, Orlando, SAC and GS away from home and back here, Memphis, the Bulls, Houston and Utah to close the regular season. 24-games left. Doable?

Jameson from St. Paul messaged me the other day, “I love your show (GameON!) and have to admit, I’m more of a Vikings and Wild fan. I do want the Wolves to get in. Do you think making the playoffs will really make the difference with Kevin Love”?!

Jameson, thanks for your note. Honestly, I think it will help greatly. Listen, the Love banter makes guys like me crazy. K-Love can’t escape the ridiculous questions and constant harping. The Wolves don’t want, under ANY circumstances, to let K-Love go. Love wants to be the leader of a contending team. THIS group is nearly there. It’s miles in front of the Lakers, healthy Kobe or not (who’s near the end of his outstanding career). Love is elite. Love is special. Before making crazy comments or hypotheticals, just take a breath and remember the professionals running this organization aren’t going to let Love leave. TOO much is invested. TOO much rides on the future of this team with Love in tow. In this day and age of new media and being connected, worldwide, in seconds…the argument that Love can’t be a monster celebrity while hunkered down in Minnesota is ridiculous. Jameson, somehow…someway…I see it working. Love works with basketball people who have their own legend. Adelman. Flip. The waiting isn’t fun but faith & patience have to be on our plate for this one. Hang on. Fingers crossed.

Thanks for taking a moment to check in to our little ditty. And let’s kick this stretch run into gear. Here’s hoping the roller coaster is stopped and a run is in the offing. Mister Optimism isn’t nervous looking at numbers and my abacus shows 24-remaining. It’s time to keep your GameON!


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