Simons Says - Feb. 6, 2014












Can’t live with it and it feels like you can’t live without it. Especially these days.

With the season that it’s become, the Timberwolves busy week has been full of Minnesota potholes and ups and downs. Just a week ago it felt like we were making steps in the right direction. Much like a roller coaster, that might be debated as you read this a week later.

Social media is what we live with and sometimes wish we didn’t. Immediate gratification on the senders end to voice what’s on their mind, no matter what it is. Often, without much fore thought.

Let’s see. Wins in three of four on the road with a troubling ending in Chicago involving Nikola Pekovic and a bum wheel. Then a win at home against NOLA, struggles against Memphis and Atlanta in the 4-0-4. Then, 4 games in 5 nights starting against the team in purple that calls themselves “Lakers” but resembles the San Diego Conquistadors of the old ABA. The Q’s would have been proud of the so-called Lakers. LA, without Mamba, Pao, Wilt, West, Magic and KA-Jabbar, gave the Wolvies all they could handle and then some. The return of aging Steve Nash had to bolster them but give LAL some credit. They played hard and didn’t quit. In pro sports, THAT is impressive.

When is a win not good enough? Ahh, social media. Twitter and Facebook will a flitter with barbs and babble about the woes of the Wolves. OK, that was Tuesday. OKC was Wednesday and wow, relentless. It was just the work of scheduling and all but it seemed strange to me that the Wolves arrived in Thunderland as the NFL closed its season with a victory parade in Seattle. That fine cities first Championship since the Seattle SuperSonics won the NBA title in 1979 over the Washington Bullets with Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes, Phil Chenier and Bobby Dandridge. That factoid kept being repeated over and over on the broadcasts of the victory parade and some wondered, Super “what”?! Sonics “who”?!

They reside now in OKC and are clearly, on any given day, one of the best teams in the NBA. Bruised and ready for yet another back-to-back game, the Wolves suited up with even better news (heavy on the dripping sarcasm here). All Star starter Kevin Love would be out (back neck and badly hammered from the night before against LAL) and starter Corey Brewer not with the team for the birth of his baby son Sebastian (congrats!). So, let me get this straight. No Pek, no C-Brew and no Love?! NO LOVE?! Yep. You don’t have to believe what Sonics, er….Thunder players, say about the Wolves. This is a nice rivalry and the two teams play like it. In the fourth and final meeting of the season, with three of the Wolves five starters out and most of the remaining frontline 8-tired and gassed from the night before, why watch. Right?!

My buddy, Hoop, dropped me a text saying he had a date (surprise) and while they were going to Pizza, he’d keep an eye peeled on the game. I’m sure my buddy was glad he did.

For if you turned away and watched hockey, or Honey BooBoo or anything else, you missed a ton. One GameON! TV watcher dropped a note saying, “Dang glad I found something better to do with my time than watch another loss by our struggling team”. How wrong is that?

Yes, the Wolves lost to OKC 106-97 but it was a hellava’ game! I saw more from the Wolves in this loss than I’d seen in months. Feel free to call me crazy. And by the way, have you, at any level, played a sport of ANY kind?

There is something to be said for an often-looked intangible in sports. Pride. The Wolves showed immense pride and character in fighting (to the final period) a team that should have blown them out of the building. Missing so many of their key players, on the road, back to back games and then they are making it a good game?!

I was glued. Ricky Rubio led the way with 19 on 6 of 12 shooting, 5 assists and 8 boards. Dante Cunningham stood out and JJ Barea was so solid. Down a bucket at half and a 3-pointer after three, the Wolves stayed close but ran out of gas at the end. Granted, protect the ball a bit more and not turn the ball over 11 times (that led to 14 OKC points) and we’d be talking about a win. Whatever the case, the Wolves showed life and were impressive in an “L”.

I’m not going to spend time noshing with the naysayers. Those cats are easily found. I will tell you, to write off these guys, right now, would be a mistake. Yes, they are on the outside looking in at the post season and yes, they have some mighty big tests ahead. But with more home games than road remaining, I like the Wolves chances.

Plenty of work remaining and the task is challenging. But that’s what it’s all about. 49 games down. 33 left. We’re in a playoff chase! Thanks for dropping in and if time permits, check out our audio version of SimonsSays PODcast here along the Wolves Entertainment Network! And don’t forget, keep your GameON!

SIMONSSAYS SHORT TAKES:

NEW DIGS ARE GOOD:

Great news for the Wolves and Lynx as plans were unveiled for a new practice facility across the street from Target Center in Block E. In addition to the practice facility, the team is partnering with Mayo Clinic, who will operate a sports medicine clinic adjacent to the practice space. If you remember the third level with the movie theatre, that is where the teams and the clinic will be housed.

“This is an exciting day for the Timberwolves and Lynx players, coaches and fans,” said Rob Moor, CEO of the Timberwolves and Lynx. “The new practice facility will be state of the art and will help our franchises both on and off the court. The partnership with Mayo Clinic will allow the Timberwolves and Lynx players to have access to cutting edge medical technology within the most respected and recognized medical system in the world. This facility is like nothing else in the country. It is not only unique to the NBA and WNBA, but to all of professional sports.”

The Timberwolves and Lynx currently practice in the Target Center below the ground level, with two floors between the practice space and the locker rooms. The practice space is part of the Lifetime Fitness center in Target Center. A very good thing for basketball fans!

WHAT’S UP WITH THE CHAMPION LYNX?!

Here’s a quick update on Lynx players working overseas:

  • Lindsay Whalen leads the Russian League’s third-ranked Dynamo Moscow (10-4).


  • Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson are also in the Russian League playing with fifth-ranked Dynamo Kursk (9-4).


  • Devereaux Peters is with Dynamo-GUVD (2-12) in Russian League play.


  • Maya Moore is back in Chinese League play with top-ranked Shanxi (18-3). Moore posted her 16th double-double of the season with 43 points and 10 rebounds, including five assists and three steals. Shanxi still holds the top position with three losses as it heads into the Chinese Basketball’s final regular season game on February 4 against Heilongjiang Chenneng. By the way, Moore is a 2014 Chinese WCBA All-Star starter for the North Star team. The All-Star game will be held on February 9 in Daquing, Heilongkiang province. The Chinese WCBA’s regular season comes to an end on February 4, with League playoffs kicking off following the All-Star game.



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