Simons Says - March 28, 2013












One streak done. Another continues. For me, the wrong one ended.

Away from the action at Target Center as the Wolves tangle with the LA Lakers, the main NBA TV event was Miami’s effort to extend its 27-game winning streak in Chicago.

By now you know the Bulls were going to have none of it and good for them. It’s tough to win on the NBA road, even for a team as good as the Heat. And for a kid who grew up (albeit very young) watching Wilt, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston, Pat Riley and Jimmy McMillen set the modern record of 33-straight wins, I was glad to see that mark stay in place.

That was then and this is now and I can’t say the same for the current Lakers hex on our Wolves. For six years, the Wolves haven’t been able to beat the Lake Show once, a span of 22 games. It’s a dismal mark for sure. You look at this recent meeting, a three-point loss; the Wolves players ALL believed they could end that streak. It’s not the same Lakers team and certainly not the Wolves squad that started the season with such optimism and excitement.

However, despite a strong and valiant comeback, the Wolves lost for the gut wrenching 22nd consecutive time. The 120-117 final was a little misleading in that the Wolves played from behind most of the night, fell behind by as many as 15 points, scored 70-points in the second half and then finishing the game on a 25-14 run.

There’s no doubt in my mind that had the Wolves, as gathered prior to the start of the regular season, stayed relatively injury free and had all their pieces together for the 82-game run, they’d be in the middle of Western Conference playoff conversation. The return of their key parts has made a big difference.

  • Take for instance, the Godfather. Nikola Pekovic scored 19 points but he’s also showing his value to the team in the paint. Big Pek grabbed 16 rebounds and the hard working Wolves PR team tells me Pek has a team-leading 24th double-double of the season. Pek does what Dwight Howard does not, consistently and with much less drama. Pek makes a positive difference. One other note. With his five offensive rebounds against the Lakers, Pekovic has now grabbed an offensive rebound in each of the last 67games he's played which is the second longest active streak in the NBA (Kevin Love, 75).


  • Reinforcements have arrived, are getting back into the game and now, the bench has been restocked and it’s showing. In all, eight players scored in double figures against LA and the Wolves bench chipped in 48 points. One player who’s improving with the return of talented teammates is Dante Cunningham. DC dropped 18 and has been large this season. As much as I like Wayne Ellington’s game and potential, DC was flat out a Memphis heist.


  • I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Chase Budinger back with the team. His return was quiet but he’s coming up big. In fact, playing in his fifth game after missing four months with a knee injury, Chase scored 14 points and snared a season-high nine rebounds. So far so good now that he’s back as Budinger is averaging 9.6 points on 18-of-41 (43.9 percent) shooting.


  • I’m also watching those game breaking numbers, you know, miscues and, as assistant coach Terry Porter calls “the little things” either get you a win or a loss. First, steals. The Wolves recorded a season-high-tying 15 steals against the cats in purple including three each from Andrei Kirilenko and Ricky Rubio. The Wolves were hawks as eight other players swiped at least one steal.


  • Cleaning the glass. The Wolves grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and turned them into 25 second-chance points.


  • Forcing mistakes. The Wolves forced Los Angeles into 21 turnovers while committing just 15 miscues. This is key. The Wolves have recorded fewer turnovers than their opponent in 16 of the last 19 games (one tie), averaging 14.3 turnovers per game compared to 17.5 for their opponents. Numbers, maybe. But it means their work at protecting the ball and not beating themselves, in this area, has dramatically improved.


  • And getting offensive. The Wolves scored a season-high-tying 117 points against the Lakers including that 38 in the fourth, two shy of a quarter high for the season. The Wolves are now averaging 109.0 ppg over their last four games (2-2).


  • Some good fodder in my SimonsSays e-mail box this week. Two gems to share with you now.

    This from Danny in New Hope: Rod! Met you recently at Target and enjoy your work. I have since Channel 5 days. Please help me win a disagreement with my friend (who I can’t name) who insists this team has thrown in the towel and has given up. I say they haven’t. Please give me your thoughts. Can’t wait to hear you on the radio now too. Thanks! PS: Please get more Wolves highlights on the TV. Thanks.

    Danny, thanks for the kind words and your interesting note. Your friend loses this one. Despite what some Wolves watchers (or not watching) might insist, the team is showing a great deal of fight, especially when you see other teams fall off and lose focus. Road win in Detroit and Phoenix are impressive. Nice rallies and fights to the finish against the Lakers and Bulls are too. You only have to be around this team for a few minutes to see they aren’t going to quit. NOT with Ricky Rubio single handedly trying to win every game he plays. Rubio, JJ Barea, DC, AK-47…to a player up and down the roster, it just isn’t happening. Danny, you win the argument. And as for Wolves highlights, we’re coordinating with busy Wolves broadcast specialist Mark Remme to get him back for his popular top-10 video board.

    This from Scott in Osseo: I keep hearing rumors and reading stories about Coach Adelman. Is he coming back next season? Say it ain’t so that he might leave.

    Scott, out of respect for his players, Coach isn’t addressing this sensitive question in season. But considering his wife’s medical concerns, his departure could happen. First and foremost, you have to take care of family first. I’m sure Coach wants to finish the work he started on the court but to do so, a lot of things have to be considered, So, with the help of great doctors, a lot of healing and prayers, the Adelman’s will make those decisions off season. Whatever road they take, it will be the right one because it’s made with family in the forefront.

    A few games remain. Hang on for the finish and a furious off season. Good things to come. Keep your GameON!

    Why I really like Pek

    I love seeing players do these meet and greets. Nikola Pekovic is the best and knowing him, he enjoys these too. Big Pek had the chance to "Get Closer" to his fans as he served free sandwiches to customers at the Block E Jimmy John's across from Target Center. The Timberwolves "Get Closer" season ticket membership campaign continues and it gives fans an opportunity to get closer to the players without the interference of distance, equipment or barriers. And, Wolves season ticket members get closer to the team and its players through benefits only available to them. Pekovic, Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko and Greg Stiemsma appeared in ads with Wolves season ticket members as part of the "Get Closer" campaign. You can see those commercials on GameON! TV and on the Wolves official website.

    Get Closer

    Speaking of “Get Closer,” this is the opportunity/promise that the Timberwolves Basketball Club provides its season ticket members and allows members get closer to the action on court than any other professional sport. It truly differentiates the organization from all others. Wolves season ticket members get closer to the team and its players through benefits only available to them. To this end, the Minnesota Timberwolves have launched their “Get Closer” season ticket membership campaign and you can save big money on tickets.

    We are talking membership with the Timberwolves from 43 Target Center home games to a 365-day relationship with benefits throughout the calendar year. With the membership benefits, affordable pricing and a 10 percent playoff refund, it’s a good time to become a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball Club. Timberwolves season ticket member pricing still remains one of the best and most affordable values in all of professional sports, with memberships starting as low as $172. There will continue to be more than 1,000 lower-level season tickets priced as low as $20 per game, the most affordable lower-level season ticket in the NBA. Additionally, 6,700 tickets in the upper-level are priced at $7 or less per game, including 2,000 upper-level tickets priced at only $4 per game. These prices are all guaranteed through the end of the regular season (April 17). After April 17, season ticket memberships will increase. Go to Timberwolves.com for more information!

    Schedule set for Lynx

    It’s getting closer! The 2012 Western Conference Champion Minnesota Lynx kick off their 15th anniversary season in the WNBA at home against Connecticut on Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m. The 2013 WNBA campaign includes 34 regular-season games, dating from May 24 and Sept. 14. This year’s All-Star Game will be held in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday, July 27. The Lynx will play Western Conference teams Los Angeles (three times on the road, twice at home) and Phoenix (three times at home, twice on the road) five times this season, while facing off with San Antonio, Seattle and Tulsa four times each, twice at home and twice on the road. Minnesota will face all six Eastern Conference teams twice, once at home and once on the road. The 2013 Lynx campaign also includes two nationally broadcast home games on July 9 vs. Atlanta and Aug. 24 vs. Indiana.

    We’re all on MY29!

    You know that GameON! is on FOX’s MY29! The Wolves will play a franchise-record 78 regular-season games televised locally, including 50 on Fox Sports North and 25 on the Wolves' exclusive over-the-air broadcast home, WFTC My29. For the second consecutive season, every Wolves regular season contest is carried live on News Radio 830 WCCO-AM.

    Breaking News!! See you on TV AT A NEW TIME

    Catch your Wolves on this Sunday’s GameON! this week!! You don’t want to miss the Emmy nominated GameON! at 10 a.m. this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 and throughout the weekend on MidCo Sports Net. Our special show this weekend originates from Ft. Myers Florida at the spring home of the Minnesota Twins. It’s our GameON! pre-Opening Day special with All Stars Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Pitcher Scott Diamond and big hitter Josh Willingham.

    GameON! is broadcast in High Definition and can be found on ITunes, on 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 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, 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.

    And last but not least, please catch Rod as he hosts the new Twins Post-Post game show w/longtime Minnesota music aficionado Jason Nagel on 96.3 KTWIN-FM radio during the baseball season.

    For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com