Simons Says - Jan. 9, 2014
It was a brutal ending to a long day.
Old Man Winter was biting with -7 degree temperatures as thousands of Wolves fans streamed out of the Arena after another one. Another CBNW.
Close but no “W.” Yep. For the 10th time this season, the Wolves have hit the finish line and wound up on the wrong side of the slate. I don’t need to tell you this but I will anyway, this is not good.
On the night the team marketers played up and pushed Kevin Love’s All-Star possibilities, his night on the court was off. “Terrible” is how K-Love described the last few lines of the book that was Phoenix vs. Minnesota, Round 1.
Listen, the Western Conference is loaded with strong teams. The East is where the lowly reside. If Minnesota is going to become playoff worthy, the time to show it is now. 0-10 in games decided by 4-points is unacceptable. Heck, worry not about my standards, the players are going crazy. Love muttering after the game, “We can’t have any more of these.” Yep. That is correct.
It’s all about execution. As they say in the game, “making plays.” And the Wolves are not. While the team is sharp in some games in which the Wolves build a lead and never take their foot off the gas, in other games, small leads and their inability to protect the ball are big factors.
And the crappy thing about losing so many close games is that adversity stirs internal tension. I’m not a shrink either but finger pointing happens and, to keep this team on track and the focus on important things, that so-called finger pointing (which talk radio & media will have a field day) will be discussed by the big boss. Rich Adelman knows there is no room for that. Make the plays; we’re not talking about it. It’s that simple.
As I expected, the GameON! faithful who stayed up (Phoenix vs. Wolves was a national TV game with an 8:30AM central start…kinda’ late) hit me up and hard after this one. Easy to vent from a warm living room, fire roaring and SimonsSays is shivering en route to his car. A few snippets now.
Dan from St. Paul circled the bases with this one. “I heard you on KTWIN the other day saying the Wolves were going to make a New Years run. What gives? Same old Wolvies if you ask me. I’ll take my answer off the air.”
Dan, you’re mixing your sports metaphors but that’s OK by me. I did talk up the Wolves when I saw those recent strong outings but I’ll admit, this close-game-ofer stuff has me scratching my head. On the night Minnesota welcomes back Chase Budinger to the line-up, this happens. I dunno. I’m with Adelman, it just has to end and it starts with those guys on the floor every night. You clamp down. Execute. Make plays. Quit blaming someone else and get it done. Do it. I’m sticking with my New Year’s run theory until my boat sinks. I just have a feeling. Leave it at that. I can. Because I’m writing this. Next.
Rachel in New Brighton was at a recent GameON! taping. Her question was “You talk about “learning something” from the Wolves string of close losses. What do they learn?” Rachel, thanks for coming by and being a part of the show at Bar Abilene/Uptown Monday night’s. What do the Wolves learn from those close losses? Plenty. In every single game, the Wolves didn’t execute, didn’t protect leads or allowed their opponent to jump on them early. And in the game against the Suns, former Wolves guard Gerald Green gets the ultimate revenge by burying an 18-foot jumper to win the game. The team only has to look as far as those 10-games for the hitch in their giddy-up. Win, say half of those, instead of 17-18 they were 22-13, they are firmly in the middle of the Western Conference playoffs. Not, as they are now, on the outside looking in. Get it done. Rachel, thanks for the contribution.
Thity-five games down. Forty-six left. It’s time to get after it. The next week brings Charlotte and Sacramento to town, a road trip to San Antonio and plenty of practice sessions. Clear the air, clear your head and re-focus. Time is now. Thanks for dropping in and we’ll see you with the start of 2014! And don’t forget, keep your GameON!
SIMONSSAYS SHORT TAKES
All you need is Love:
As we mentioned, the Wolves are asking fans to ‘Show Kevin Some Love’ by helping to secure a starting spot for Kevin Love in the 2014 NBA All-Star game. It started Jan. 8 as the team will implement several contests and promotions to drive All-Star votes for the standout forward. The campaign will run until balloting closes on Jan. 20.
To secure votes, the Wolves will reach fans through several new in-game elements, online contests and broadcast promotions. Keep your eyes peeled to on line Wolves notes to stay involved via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. The time is now!
Making a Difference: – This is the Timberwolves FastBreak Foundation’s WolvesCare month. This initiative focuses on recognizing and supporting some of the Wolves' smallest fans, but those with the biggest hearts: children living with chronic illnesses.
The following events will be a part of this year's WolvesCare Month:
Heroes in the Making
During WolvesCare Month, the FastBreak Foundation will recognize a "Hero in the Making" at six home games. The Foundation has identified local children battling chronic illnesses and will share their stories with the Target Center crowd on game nights. These inspirational fans will be treated to a suite for the game and recognized during an on-court ceremony.
Mall of America Takeover – Jan. 14
The FastBreak Foundation and sponsor C.H. Robinson will host 15 area children who have been diagnosed with long-term illnesses for a day of fun with Timberwolves players at Mall of America. The children will get the chance to create a new friend at the Build-A-Bear store, enjoy some ice cream and wrap up the day at SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium.
Thanks for your support!
SimonsSays on TV/PODcast
You can now get SimonsSays in new PODcast form with insight/input from fans just like you and exclusive player interviews! Keep an eye out for SimonsSays PODcast at Timberwolves.com each and every week. And there is always a Wolves update on my TV show, GameON! Don’t miss an episode of the multi-Emmy nominated GameON! at 10am this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 and throughout the weekend regionally on MidCo Sports Net.
GameON! is powered by Taste of the NFL & Budweiser and is broadcast in High Definition and can be found on ITunes, on demand via 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 taping location Uptown at Bar Abilene. GameON! offers in-depth interviews with the top players, great food, sports newsmakers and we get you inside your favorite teams (including the Wolves). We’d love for you to “like” us on Facebook at GameOnTvMN. Drop me a note, Rod@KTWIN.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.
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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!