Simons Says - March 6, 2014
Crazy how things can change in a week or even a day for that matter. One week ago, this ditty opened with the line of “This is nice to see.” Today, ouch. THAT hurt.
It’s no secret that the NBA’s playoff stretch drive is clearly in sight. And with all the suitcases of momentum that the T’Wolves brought back from successful road trip (going 4-1), watching the Wolves switch gears, on the road and playing with a determination of trying to reach the post season, the Knicks come to town.
New York is an Eastern Conference team on the outside of the playoffs looking in. They are WAY outside. The Knicks are in Virginia looking in. 22-40 on the season. The Knicks were reeling and had lost 7 straight games heading into this visit. That team had NO business beating the suddenly hot Wolves in their den. Plain and simply shouldn’t have happened.
Minnesota came out flat, missing shots and worst of all, the Wolves let proud veteran NBA players warm up around All-Star and super scorer Carmelo Anthony. I’m not much of an Anthony fan. He’s a scorer and does little to help his team. He likely won’t win an NBA title because he’s a one trick pony. Don’t get me wrong, seems like a good guy, and puts fans in the seats and good to kids. Just not a team player. The Knicks are in bad shape, not necessarily because of Anthony but rather it’s a team with a lot of disconnected parts. Whatever the case, they played and exposed a lot of problems that will be roadblocks for the Wolves playoff hopes.
“Forgetting this one” is what some of the Wolves were saying in the locker room after the game and that won’t be easy. Wolves’ opponents are certainly not going to. Twenty-two games remain in the NBA season. The Wolves are 30-30 and 5.5 games out of the last playoff spot. Not a ton of time to get where they want to go. The Wolves will need help from other teams and that is troublesome, too.
I’ve said it before and stick to it. This push is NOT impossible but with every loss, especially those L’s that come at home AND on nights when vulnerable teams also lose (thus gaining NO ground), hope that the Wolves can do it themselves fades. Minnesota has to make every game a masterpiece. Twenty-two left. Make every one of them special. Defy the critics. Silence the skeptics. Just as you did in when you found a way to win in Sacramento then turned around and pounded it in the Pepsi Center against Denver. Six -weeks to the finish line and you, collectively, have the option.
A week ago to now, no ground gained. As it stands, the Wolves are still 5.5 games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The NBA’s surprise team Phoenix continues to be in driver’s seat and within days, the Wolves will get Sacramento at home on the 16th then road trip to Texas for back-to-back games with Dallas and Houston. Win three of every four you play out of the 22 left, go 18-4, I believe you get in. Hopefully you will have beaten Memphis the two times facing them and Phoenix, too. Wiggle room in this plan does not include losing to teams ahead of you in the Western Conference race. Lose and as I mentioned last week, this screen fades to color bars. Big home games to end March include the Suns at Target Center the 23rd, a visit to Graceland to tangle with the Griz on 24th, the LA invasion of the Lakers on the 28th and the Clippers on the 31st.
Eric from Maplewood, “I am pumped at the prospect of the Wild and Wolves making the playoffs. I know you talk about it on your podcast and in this blog, but do you really think the Wolves can get in and if they don’t, is Love gone?
Every week, the K-Love contract issue rears its ugly head. The Wolves just need to win. Period. The Love issue will then take care of itself. Thanks for the note but I’d like to focus on the playoffs and taking care of matters now. I’m sure the naysayers and others will keep reminding us about Love’s impending decision. For now, that will remain in the “to be dealt with” file. And yes, I still believe. Yes.
Thanks for taking a moment to check in. Again, Mr. Optimism isn’t wavering as he looks at the standings. It’s time to keep your GameON!
SIMONSSAYS SHORT TAKES
It won’t be long before the Lynx are back on the court defending their WNBA title. The players are finishing their work overseas and here’s an update.
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