Simons Says - Jan. 31, 2013

This edition of SimonsSays comes to you from the land of Pelicans, Hornets, Ravens and a few of the old time ‘49ers! From afar, GameON! is watching the start of the T-Wolves vital January homestand and cheering loudly.

Upon arrival in New Orleans, I was shuttled about and had arrival meetings and more meetings. Mindful of the time (of course, not to be “late” to a meeting) I was keeping an eye peeled on the new Christmas present watch because of tip-time. It neared 7pm central and it was time for the Wolves to dig in against the new look LAClips.

This played out for two hours. Me hitting refresh and getting score updates while easing into the NOLA night. It’s my first time back into New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina and it’s nice to see how many things have returned and how spirits are better. I’ll never forget the post-Hurricane relief trip that the Wolves made and I was fortunate enough to be a part of it. More on that in a moment.

As much as I wanted to see the W’s get a W, I was happy that the team was finally making big steps at being together. I didn’t know this (thanks again to the crack Wolves media staff) but this was the first time since Boxing Day (day after Christmas) against Houston when the Wolves actually played with 12 available players. I didn’t say “healthy bodies” because this team is put together with tape of several types of tape, glue and bailing wire with all the hurts they have endured this season.

It was just 48-hours ago that the Wolves got a needed shot in the arm by getting back some hoop VIP’s to the team. Coach Rick Adelman returned after caring for his ailing wife. Rookie Alexey Shevd and the big fella, Nikola Pekovic returned after 5-games away.

Pek was, well…Pek against the Clips. Imposing, bruising and helping to stabilize this drifting ship. Against LAC, The Godfather dropped his team-leading 14th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Remember, Big Pek has been averaging 18.2 points, shooting over 50% (actually 53.6% shooting if you want to be specific) with 10-rebounds a game in his last 18.

There are more bright signs. To have Adelman back gives the players what they need. Direction. Stability. Coaches keen ability to praise and prod, high-5 and harp on ‘em when and as needed. Since Coach had to step away from the bench, the Wolves won only 2 of 11 games which included two 4-game losing streaks (again, to be specific one was 5-games).

Good to have #1 back too. In his first game after missing five games with that sprained left ankle, Alexey Shved came off the bench to bust 12 points, two rebounds and three assists. The Wolves will need Shevd and Pek as they enter a tough weekend of games against the Lakers and Hornets/Pelicans @ Target Center. By the way, congrats to our Russian rookie for being named to the All Star/2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.

Quickly, a few other bright spots against the Clips:

>J.J. Barea, off the bench, buries 14 points and has scored in double figures in 23 of his last 26 games. He is now averaging 14.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists over his last five games.

>He’s getting back to his old self as Ricky Rubio scored nine points, grabbed three rebounds and dished out four assists with two steals in starting his seventh consecutive game for the Wolves. Rubio is now averaging 6.7 points, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals in 27.7 minutes per game as a starter.

>LOVE this number. The Wolves bench outscored the Clippers bench 37-25 led by Barea's 14 points. If you recall, in the teams' first meeting, the Clippers bench dominated the Wolves', outscoring them 45-23 (led by Jamal Crawford's 22).

I like the move to sign newcomers Mickael Gelabale and Chris Johnson to new 10-day contracts. Gelabale was just signed from France to come in and give a hand after playing in the NBA a few years ago. He told us last week that “I’m here to do my job and hope it helps out. It’s great to be back in the NBA and have a chance. I know I can help”.

GameON! Viewer Eric from Fridley was quick to drop me a note post-game regarding the shaky roster. Eric wrote “Does this mean Adelman is here for the second half and won’t have to leave. It hurts the team to have him go back and forth”.

Eric, thanks for the note but do note, Adelman is only reacting to a medical situation at home. The last thing he wants is to have this happen. He knows what the implications are and as long as the Wolves brass can deal with it, so will we. His first priority, like it or not, is his family. He has built a great team around him that can handle the reigns while he’s gone, if need be.

Granted, this is a better team with him here. He gets that. His bosses do. So does his roster of talented players. But life happens and he reacts, we all react to situations.

Coach is doing the best he can. Hopefully his wife’s situation improves and her full health returns. That would be the best.

Now, let’s get wins against the LAL (brutal loss on the road in Phoenix), the HornetPelicans and early next week against the retooled Portland Trail Blazers.

And before signing off from the home of SuperBowl XLVII, this. Upon arrival here in the Big Easy, I recalled the outreach the Wolves did here a few years ago. Fans likely don’t know this but the Wolves dedicated staff cares and they do it 12 months a year. Back then, the Wolves loaded up a charter with relief items and the team, then led by Dwayne Casey, flew to Baton Rouge to give supplies and hugs of support to hundreds and hundreds of residents.

Fred Hoiberg, Mark “MadDog” Madsen and so many more laid their hearts on their sleeves to show the weather ravaged folks they’ll make it. It was as amazing an event as I’d ever been a part of.

The Wolves do this time and again and it’s not forgotten. So when you are asked for a small donation to help someone else, regardless if it’s the Wolves or another team or someone else, please consider it. We’re in this together and yes, might not always agree, but we’re on the same path.

On and off the court, the Wolves are making it happen. As I said last week, there’s lots of basketball left to be played. So, let’s make a mad dash to the playoffs as the Twins are packing to leave Ft. Myers, ok?! Giving up just isn’t an option according to SimonsSays. Let’s get it done and work from there. Cheers to you and see you on TV!

Love Big:

Kevin Love has his coat drive. K-Love gives back via his website and foundataion. The NBA named Love as the recipient of the Kia Community Assist Award for December in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the community, in particular his ongoing work with the Kevin Love Coat Drive.

Kia and the NBA are honoring Love in part for his charitable efforts, which included hosting his fifth annual Kevin Love Coat Drive. Love collected more than 2,500 coats between Nov. 14 and Dec. 12, which he personally delivered to the Salvation Army. To increase awareness and participation, Love has dedicated a significant amount of time promoting the drive each year through appearances and by offering additional incentives to coat donors including autographs, photos, and two tickets to a Timberwolves game.

"It's truly an honor to receive the Kia Community Assist Award," Love said. "It's a privilege to be able to help people in need in the Twin Cities get a warm coat for the winter. I want to personally thank all of our great Timberwolves fans that donated a record number of coats for this year's drive. Without the fans' involvement and participation, none of this would be possible."

Love has also been very active is helping to find a cure for children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases. As a Hoops for St. Jude ambassador for the past four years, he continues to help raise funds and awareness for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® which provides the best care to the world’s sickest children at no cost to their family.

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

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, 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

Keep your GameON! See you soon!

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