Simons Says - Jan. 2, 2014

What a difference a few days makes.

Throw in the holidays of Christmas and New Year’s, all the craziness that is family and friends and all that time to take it all in and then, if you are like me, you have to catch some football and basketball (IE Wolves), you know there’s little time left on the ol’ clock.

That’s why I call the Wolves holiday run 9 out of 10 on the “How We Doin” scale. After their Pre-Christmas swing through Southern California, this team has been solid and you’re notes to me have been too. Optimism, it seems in Minnesota, is a week to week emotion. I’m good with that. Here’s why.

LOVE the fact that the Wolves are being stubborn hosts and protecting home court. With the exception of the high stakes robbery that took place against Dallas at 9:23pm on Monday December 30th @ Target Center, it’s OK to sense a turnaround in the works ((for the record, that WAS a foul and hopefully that loss doesn’t come back to bite the Wolves).

Minnesota’s has beaten Washington, played terrifically in beating the Bucks on the road to secure a back-to-back set ((big stuff if you read this often)) and won earlier December home games against Portland and Philly.

In the win against New Orleans, I liked how the bench got in the game in a very big way and the 3rd quarter was the spring board to the win. In the past, getting in gear fresh out of the halftime break was nearly impossible for the Wolves. Now, it’s a priority.

The Wolves had a sweet 19-2 run to move its lead to 30 points in the third. And as they did against Philadelphia and in the second half against the Blazers, the Wolves showed grit and character after starting cold (6-for-17 (35.3%)) then heating up against the Pelicans by dropping 38 of its next 62 attempts (61.3%). Give ‘em credit, NOLA is a team on the rise and the Wolves enjoyed its best shooting night of the season by connecting on nearly 56% of their shots. Gotta’ do that at home.

When we’re talking offense, let’s give Team Adelman some credit. Against the Pel’s, that 124 points was Minnesota’s league-leading sixth time scoring 120+ points this season. Also, a season high.

Add to it that the Wolves finished with 33 points in the first quarter which is an NBA leading 14th 30+ point first quarter of the season. Score that many out of the gate and the Wolves usually win (The Wolves are now 11-3 when scoring 30+ points in the first quarter, including a perfect 7-0 at home).

When it seems I can get any more impressed than I am with Kevin Love, he has a busy day at the office but leads the way. Against NOLA, K-Love had 21 points, Kevin Martin 20 and big Nikola Pekovic with 22. Significant because each topped 20 points for the seventh time this season.

I like the fact that J.J. Barea continues to lead off the bench. His savvy, his Championship swagger from ringing with Dallas and his passion are vital intangibles for this team to get into the playoffs. JJ dropped 17 points and was one of three Minnesota reserves in double figures. 42 points for the bench is impressive. Need that to win.

My e-mail was bursting when I exited the NOLA game and wanted to share a few with you….First, more needling #9.

Daniel in Lakeville writes: “Great to see you @ Target center this season and love your show. What are your thoughts on (Ricky) Rubio. I think his lack of a shot will doom the team. I suggest trading him”

Thanks Daniel, thanks for the note but NO NO NO. NO trade of Rubio. Are you kidding me?! He’s fine. Against NOLA, Rubio scored 14 points ( 4-of-6 shooting), 9-assists, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. His shot will come. Folks, try to use some patience with #9. We don’t need Rubio to be Jerry West and score 20-plus a night. He dishes, drives, leads the break and is getting better on the defensive end. I’ll gladly take what he gives us. It’s part of the winning concoction.

A few weeks ago I said the Wolves were fighting to get consistency in their game, execute better in all phases of their game, get bench scoring contributions and ball control and then we’ll be in business. They are getting that done. Cutting down on turnovers. Being smarter with the ball.

16-16 after 32 games and a solid schedule awaits to start the new year.

I’m holding this recent e-mail from a viewer named Darren from St. Paul. His quip, “I heard you talking about power rankings on that PODcast thing you do. The Wolves are getting a generous placement at 15. Rod, I appreciate your optimism but this won’t be their year”.

Darren, hold the phone. This one is just getting interesting. More surprises coming for sure, especially when Chase Budinger rejoins the team.

32 games down. 49 left. These guys want it more than you or I do. Trust me. So, Happy New Year! Enjoy the start of 2014! And don’t forget, keep your GameON!


SimonsSays on TV/PODcast:

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As we have for years, we talk Wolves. Every day. High’s & lows. We’re there because we are fans, just like you! Keep your GameON! See you soon!

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