Simons Says - Oct. 12, 2012

There’s something about fall. It’s a great season and for so many reasons. I do love the leaves falling, the cooler air (much like JJ Barea I’m still not a big fan of sub-zero temps that come later in the NBA season) and evvveeen the shorter days are OK for a while.

But best of all, autumn brings us sports offerings that are special. I love post season baseball so it’d be nice if the Twins worked with me on this one. They won’t. ‘Nuff said. So, the playoffs have been very good (and it does show you that having an “ace” up your pitching sleeve can do wonders), the NFL seasons start has been tremendous for the Vikings and our Lynx open their final leg of that Road To Repeat Sunday in Target Center.

Talking to Center Taj McWilliams-Franklin for GameON! (This Sunday), she says “timing” will play a huge role in this year’s final. “We had two very tough series against Seattle and L.A. and finished as we’d hoped. Because of that, you know the schedule, we’ve had a couple of days off to just rest and heal. It will help us in the Finals.”

“Mama Taj” knows. At 41 years old, she’s twice the age of some of her WNBA competitors but she gives no ground. “We’re doing exactly what we thought we could do.” Yes the Lynx are. There’s more to do. It starts Sunday night with Game one. Go Lynx! Good luck.

Great to see ‘em back…on the floor!

Fargo had a bit of a mid-week buzz zippin’ through town this week. The Wolves were in town.

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Wolves worked in Fargo against the Indiana Pacers. They played at Fargodome and drew a crowd of just over 9,000 to the first preseason game of the year.

These preseason games are big stuff to towns near us. They are always trekking to the big city to see their teams so it’s nice when they come to their building to play. I remember as a kid, growing up in the Pacific Northwest, it was always on my calendar when the Sonics would play in Spokane for an exhibition. This, my friend, is back in the day a bit. Spokane is still there. The Sonics are not (moving on to a topic which will calm the writer).

Best thing about Game 1, the fans saw some good things. Yes, the Wolves beat Indiana 84-70 but it was how Rick Adelman’s team went about its work.

Good fun for a hoopaholic to see the new T’Wolves players on the floor at the same time. To see a Nikola Pekovic rebound, outlet to Barea and finish with a reverse by Andrei Kirilenko, and to see it polished as if it were mid-season, I loved it.

The Wolves played some “D” too. The Pacers shot only 34 percent while scoring just 70 points and just because the game didn’t count in the standings, the Wolves played up for the home crowd. They were hawks on the ball and forced Indiana into 24 turnovers.

They were all there. Brandon Roy got into the act. Rusty a bit when he started, Roy was groovin’ by the midpoint in the third quarter (a quarter the Wolves will continue to put an emphasis on this season) Roy dropped the first six points out of halftime and in all, scored 8 of his 13 on the night in the third. Another fan asked me about Roy at our recent GameON! taping. Shawn from MPLS said, “Isn’t it risky for the Wolves to invest so much in a player (Roy) they aren’t sure will last the season with them and take time from other players?”

The Wolves hear this one often but their answer is no. No risk, no reward and quite frankly, Roy isn’t a risk. If he plays, he makes the team better. This year, they’ve added solid veterans to even out that foundation so if his return is hobbled a bit, they should be fine. And T’Wolves players are pulling for Roy. Any contribution from the former Portland all-star is money in the bank for this playoff-pushing team. By the way, that was Roy’s first real game action in more than a year. Welcome back! And thanks for the question Shawn.

Everyone got into the act against the Pacers. “The Godfather” Nikola Pekovic and former Houston Rockets forward Chase Budinger each led the Wolves with 14 points. Talking about how B-Roy ruled in the third, truth be told, he had some help. 9-of-the points in the third belonged to Big Pek. It was the “Pek and Roy” show, not to be confused with the “pick and roll” show. Hmm. OK. (And Pek led the way as the Wolves bigs dominated the paint by outscoring Indy by 22 in the painted area).

Watching the Adelman bench work was must see TV for this hoopaholic too. I enjoyed catching Budinger out there and had been anticipating his play since his arrival because he too adds another layer to this team that we’ve been without for some time. The bench busted 33 points on the Pacers and a pack of those points came on the run. I know there were a lot of new faces out there in Fargo and in all, nine players made their Timberwolves' debut against Indiana. That North Dakota nine also combined for 54 of Minnesota's 84 points.

Intangibles. Intangibles. Much like location, location, location is key to a realtor, Intangibles are vital in this NBA world because you gotta’ have them to be successful. The Wolves racked up 13 steals too and three each came from Kevin Love and Andrei Kirilenko. In all, eight Wolves had at least one steal. That won’t happen every night but it’s great to see it at the start of the season. Practice is working coach. Turnovers. Steals. Gigantic pieces to their new defensive game plan. Love it.

I know, I know. It’s one game and preseason at that. But it’s a win. It’s the first step for a team loaded up for what it hopes will be a long haul that lasts deep into June 2013. And it was the biggest day for a bunch of Fargo hoop fans in many moons. Glad it was a night to remember folks. I was remembering it all as I was watching you enjoy the game.

We’re all on MY@29!

You know that GameON! is on FOX’s MY29 and now the Wolves will offer a franchise-record 78 regular-season games will be 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 will be carried live on News Radio 830 WCCO-AM.

The 2012-13 Wolves Home Opener vs. Sacramento will be broadcast on WFTC MY29, beginning a string of 36 consecutive televised games to start the season.

See you on TV

He might not be playing and he might be out of sight but he’s certaintly not out of mind. Ricky Rubio has his GameON! this week!! You don’t want to miss the Emmy nominated GameON! powered by SEVEN Steakhouse Sushi Ultralounge & Skybar this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 at 10:30AM. Our special guests include the Wolves point guard and quick visits from Mr. Buddinger and JJ Barea! Also with us, Vikings starting rookie safety Harrison Smith, Lynx center “Mama Taj,” from LA the star of “Here Comes the Boom” and formerly “King Of Queens” Kevin James one on one and Fantasy Guru Jeremy Johnson. All GameON! shows are broadcast in High Definition and can be found on ITunes and online @ www.gameontvmn.com.

GameON! powered by SEVEN allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal, to meet your favorite players and fellow fans at our weekly tapings next door to Target Center at SEVEN (7th and Hennepin). 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 and drop me a note, Rod@GameOnTvMn.com. We reserve the right to use your e-mails here in SimonsSays at Timberwolves.com.

Keep your GameON! See you soon!


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