Simons Says - May 2, 2013
Injuries. That one word. It’s the one that’s been running like a jackrabbit through my head for the past few days. It all kinda started to get me thinking when I was watching the Wild’s first playoff game against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Seeing Niklas Backstrom go down in warm-ups wasn’t something we see very often. It forced the Wild into emergency mode and yes, good dude Josh Harding was great. Had he been injured, who knows what would have happened.
We see it all the time. Look at the Boston Celtics and how they are adjusting to losing team leader Rajon Rondo for the season. They are making it a great series against the Knicks with a dramatic win, on the road, in Madison Square Garden to shrink the Knickerbockers lead to a game at 3-2.
Wing west and the former SeattleSuperSonics turned OKC Thunder have their hands full with Kevin McHale’s Houston Rockets. Who woulda thunk, eh?! Ah, but that “I” word comes into play. OKC loses Russell Westbrook with a knee injury and now the Thunder resembles more of an upper level disturbance with only a 20 percent chance of rain. Westbrook is an NBA All-Star, a Gold medal Olympian and the former teammate of one Kevin Love (I reserve the right to return to discuss K-Love in moments) and he stirs this Thunder. Without RW, OKC is, as players say, “gettable” (in other words, we can get “them”….we can take ‘em). You think OKC is regretting that trade with Houston that sent super scorer James Harden to the Rockets? The man with the too-big-a-beard is smokin’ his old mates. Heck, in Game 5 Harden hit 31 points with seven 3s and he played with the dang flu!! Are you kidding me?!
Injuries. Backs, Rondo and Westbrook. Wow. Add to that the demise of the once champion LA Lakers had everything to do with losing Kobe Bryant to a torn Achilles tendon. Down go the Lakers in fast fashion, being broomed out of their own building by the Spurs.
Those are instances of one player vital to the fabric and the formula of success to those teams. Rewind now, if you will, to the season past. This gives me the perfect entrée’ to a number of fan e-mails just pulling on the Wolves for their work with a depleted roster. The Wolves had not one, two, or three injuries. No, they worked with half their roster out for most of, if not all, the season. Love, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko, Nikola Pekovic, Malcom Lee and Ricky Rubio were all shelved by the dreaded “I.” So, if one can do so much damage, just think how that little list would drastically change the playoff fortunes of one Wolves team.
For an example-in-progress to answer my own question, look no further than your Minnesota Twins. The past few seasons, that club has fought significant early season injuries and worked with a make-shift line-up. The Twins end-of-season numbers reflected the struggles too…much like the Wolves results.
This season the Twins are improving (knocking on wood right now), injuries are low, players are delivering solid performances and young players are stepping up to the opportunity given them. I’ll take 12-12 instead of 5-17 ANY day of the week. ANY day! THAT is what you want because quick turnarounds only come when you bring in the firm of “Big 3” brought to you by JW&B (James, Wade and Bosh).
Now, the mail. No edits on these. And thanks to those who resort to name calling. Next time leave a number so I can call to accurately access the adjective you used :
Unnamed from the Twin Cities: “You homer. You don’t have a f*&^ clue!! Why can’t you say it, our team sucks and will never win. I can’t stand listening to you and you have no clue.”
Hey Unnamed, thank you for taking time to write and read SimonsSays every week. This appears to be more of an anger management deal than anything else. You READ my blog every week, you WATCH/LISTEN to GameON! or KTWIN Final Call and give me no specifics regarding what you like, or in this case, seriously dislike in the postings. Bring those thoughts back. I’ll get you going on the more positive turnpike. Promise. By the way, you are not all wrong. I normally don’t have a clue. So, I’ve been exposed. But the Wolves do not suck. They will win. And yep, I don’t like listening to me either. As Meatloaf said, two out of three ain’t bad.
This slightly friendlier note from a reader nicknamed Moose from St. Paul: “Rod, love your Wolves work and that GameON! Show. I met you at a taping the other day @ The Liffey. Is there an update on (President of Basketball Operations) David Kahn, when will the NBA schedule be released and can the Lynx win it all again?”
Moose (a great nickname if it’s not your given name), thanks for the note and I remember talking to you briefly at the taping. We appreciate your visit and taking time to come out. Here are the answers: No update. Plenty of rumors but nothing. The NBA schedule is many weeks from release. I love it when it comes out too. And yes, with Maya, Lindsay, Brunson & Seimoine to name a few, oh yes they can win. It all starts soon.
Thanks for taking the time to read our little pack of thoughts. Enjoy the return of the warmth of the sun, we so deserve it. And make every day count. Keep your GameON!
Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love is one of 10 nominees for the Seasonlong KIA Community Assist Award. The Seasonlong KIA Community Assist Award honors the NBA player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities. And for the first time, fans may help select the 2013 Seasonlong Kia Community Assist Award winner via the NBA Facebook page. Voting continues through Friday, May 17.
Along with Love, the 2013 Seasonlong Kia Community Assist Award nominees include: Tyson Chandler (Knicks); Kenneth Faried (Nuggets); Tyler Hansbrough (Pacers); David Lee (Warriors); Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers); Chris Paul (Clippers); Zach Randolph (Grizzlies); Dwyane Wade (Heat); and Deron Williams (Nets).
Highlights of Love's efforts in the community this season:
Breast Health Awareness:
Partnering with All-Pro wide receiver and Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald, Love teamed up with Bright Pink to "Spread Love" for a Breast Health Awareness Month campaign in which Fitzgerald shaved Love's head in a viral video. For each view, share, and retweet of the video, over a week period, Love and Fitzgerald donated $0.25 to their charities, Bright Pink for Kevin and American Cancer Society and Banner MD Cancer Center for Fitzgerald. With 344,000 shares and views, the two together donated $86,000 to breast cancer charities.
Kevin Love Coat Drive:
For the fifth consecutive year, Love partnered with Comcast and The Salvation Army to hold his annual Coat Drive benefiting those in need. From Nov. 14 through Dec. 12, Love invited all fans to bring new and gently used coats to eight Twin Cities drop-off locations. In all, Love collected a record 2,500 coats and personally delivered them to The Salvation Army in Minneapolis. As a thank you to those who donated, Love purchased two tickets to upcoming Timberwolves games.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital:
Continuing a five-year-long partnership with St. Jude Children's Hospital, Love invited patients and their families to Target Center to enjoy a Timberwolves game earlier this season. Love has served as a Hoops for St. Jude ambassador since founding the Rookie Relief for St. Jude Program, a fundraising campaign to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, five years ago. It was then that Love befriended Dylan Witschen, a 14-year-old boy and St. Jude patient who at the time was battling cancer. Love became good friends with Dylan and his family up until Dylan's passing in 2010. Love once kept Dylan's picture in his Timberwolves locker and wrote Dylan's No. 7 on his sneakers before every game. Now, Love carries his inspiration's infectious smile with him wherever he goes.
Special Olympics Minnesota:
Love took part in the Eden Prairie Polar Bear Plunge this winter, donating over $3,000 to Special Olympics Minnesota. Love was joined by more than 650 plungers, raising over $100,000 in support or Special Olympics Minnesota.
Lynx in camp and ready to play
It’s nearly here as 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!
The Wolves played a franchise-record 78 regular-season games televised locally, 25 of which were on MY29, WFTC-TV and 50 on Fox Sports North. WFTC My29 is also where you find GameON! each and every Sunday at 10 a.m.!
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. This week GameON! is talking Vikings draft and upcoming season with fan favorite & longtime player Bob Lurtsema, KTWIN’s Lindsay Guentzel, Swarm lacrosse Owner & 2012 NLL Executive of the Year Andy Arlotta.
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 after each and every Twins game as he hosts the new Post game show “KTWIN Final Call”. Rod’s joined by longtime Minnesota music aficionado Jason Nagel on 96.3 KTWIN-FM radio during this baseball season.
Keep your GameON! See you soon!