Simons Says...




I just call it a case of good timing. The Wolves longest road trip of the year hits (7 games in 13 days) at a time when all of us need to catch our breath. Brackets are the thing as March Madness grabs us, spring break arrives for many of us, the majority of fans are still coping with “the injury” (that’s how we’ll reference the Ricky Rubio knee injury from here on out) and all the trade rumors that end on this day.

With all that’s cookin’, these will be seven days that fans won’t forget anytime soon. What a difference a week makes. If you recall, a week ago, we were in the midst of a dynamic home stand that led off with dramatic wins over the LA Clippers and the struggling (freefalling) Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers were rolling into town facing a white out and a Timberwolves team that possessed new found confidence and a noticeable swagger.

What a difference a week makes. The injury happens with seconds left against the Lakers and then that loss carries over into Saturday’s fog against the New Orleans Hornets. Through all of this, Team Adelman shows off that swagger with an impressive win against Phoenix in the valley of the sun to start the road work.

The loss of Rubio hurts not only the Wolves but his home country will be hampered this summer in the London Olympics. Here, with Luke Ridnour and JJ Barea in place, coach Adelman’s early insistence on three point guards now looks amazing. Clearly, the key to Minnesota’s continued growth (as most of you have reminded me) is a healthy Kevin Love. Add to the mix the maturation of rookie Derrick Williams, big man and “Godfather” Nikola Pekovic, stepped up play from a number of contributors like Wesley Johnson and the injury might not be felt as badly as some are allowing themselves to believe.

And as the trade deadline comes and now goes, nothing to report on the Wolves front. Much of the talk centered on Michael Beasley heading to the Lakers and rumored just as long, the Blazers sending shooting guard Jamal Crawford from Rip City.

Players are clear about it and being traded is not always easy. In Beasley’s case, he’s told me and many other reporters that he likes it here and would like to continue in this team’s growth. It’s a crappy part of that big dollar gig they got. Changing teams can be tough. Crawford has made it pretty apparent over the past few weeks that signing in Portland hasn’t turned out to be what he’d hoped (he’s a Northwest guy after growing up in Seattle with Portland coach Nate McMillan’s son) and Crawford didn’t play in New York during the Blazers 42-point loss on Wednesday.

Dwight Howard’s season long flip flop stays near the theme parks where it belongs, former Wolves guard Ramon Sessions to the Lakers (Wolves will see them tomorrow night), and interestingly enough former Warriors sharp shooter Monta Ellis to Milwaukee.

I’ve heard from MANY who believe the seasons now a wash without #9. I say not. And the best thing about it, many of you have been writing me are saying the same thing. Let’s get into the SimonsSays mailbag:

Mitsuaki from Tokyo: I’m a big Japanese Twolves fan who loves to watch games when I can wearing my Kevin Love game worn jersey. I hope to visit Minnesota for watching games and this is my 18th season being a fan this year! Hope to see you some where:)

From Josh: I'm trying to stay positive about the Rubio injury. I guess he's out of the running for ROY (rookie of the year), which kinda sucks. The Lakers always seem to be the team that gives us the knockout punch. I'm hoping that's not the case this year. Ridnour has a sweet shot and has a great chance to step up to the plate with Rubio's absence. Derrick Williams will be better next year and Rubio will be back. At the start of this year, I remember saying I'd be happy with .500. I think we'll finish right around that mark and I'll still be happy. Next year I'll be looking for a decent spot in the playoffs (3-6 seed).

Thanks for all your notes. More to come and drop me a line: Rod@GameOnTvMN.com.

Hoops and now MMA big show to Target Center:

- Among the many elite MMA fighters from across the globe at CFX Cage Fighting Xtreme 33 at Target Center on Saturday, April 28 will be a Minnesota native who proudly served his country and is now trying to make a name for himself in the cage.

Minnetonka native Jeremy Hamilton (8-1) will fight in his first main event when he takes on former UFC and Bellator veteran Yoshiyuki Yoshida (13-6) of Japan. The mega card, sponsored by Taco Bell will include more than 20 bouts featuring some of the best home-grown MMA talent in Minnesota, along with some of the rising stars in the sport from Japan.

“Japan is the epicenter for producing top combat athletes,” said matchmaker Gavin Rydell. “We wanted to give this card an international flavor, while also showcasing some of the best and brightest fighters in our state. A card like this has never taken place here in Minnesota. With former UFC, WEC, Bellator, Shooto and Strike Force fighters this will be a great stage to show the world Minnesota is a rising star in producing MMA events and talent.”

Other Minnesotans scheduled for the April 28 card include: Mikey Zimmer, Travis Perzynski, Nick Porras, Kyle Todd, Isaiah Larson, BJ Lacy, Courtney Buck, Gabe Greenberg, Billy Jochum, Travis Reddinger, Zack Wolff, Tony Belvedere, Branden Noetzel, Davonta Nunn, Ryan Sweezer and Richard Rodriguez.

Get your tickets now:

After just one week, the Minnesota Timberwolves "Everyone's Talking About the Timberwolves" season ticket membership campaign resulted in the most new season tickets sold by the franchise in a one-week time since the NBA announced a franchise was coming to Minnesota. The team sold over 500 new full season tickets during the record-setting week, over 200 more than the Wolves' prior one-week high accomplished the week of March 1-8, 2010. Coming into this year the Wolves were one of five NBA teams to sell 2,000-plus new full season tickets in each of the last two seasons. The campaign is focused on new season ticket membership sales, with the creative of the campaign highlighting the tweets, posts and mentions the Wolves have generated from users in the Twin Cities market. The campaign's ad buys, which began to run last week, include: television, traditional and over the air radio, digital outdoor, skyway signage, bus sides, transit stop posters and newspaper. Additionally, the campaign is being highlighted throughout Wolves television and radio broadcasts as well as on Timberwolves.com.

The Wolves, who currently have their largest season ticket membership holder base since the 2005-06 season with over 8,000 full season pack members, have already renewed at over 90 percent this year. It's the first time the Wolves have surpassed the 90 percent renewal mark since the 2004-05 season. Saturday night's crowd of 20,123 against the Hornets was the 12th-largest crowd in Target Center history, the Wolves' eighth sellout of the season and was their second straight crowd of 20,000-plus, the first set of back-to-back 20,000-plus crowds since the Wolves began playing at Target Center (1990-91). At 17,517, The Wolves are averaging 2,274 more fans per game this season, a 14.9 percent increase from a year ago (15,243), good for the highest uptick in the NBA this season. Minnesota's eight sellouts are the most in a single season since they had 14 in the 2003-04 campaign.

Nice job folks! Great to see you back in the arena!



See you on TV:

You don’t want to Miss GameON! powered by SEVEN Steakhouse/Sushi/Ultralounge/Skybar this Sunday morning on FOX’s My29 at 10:30AM.

We’re reporting from Twins spring training in Ft. Myers with a number of your favorite Twins players. All our shows are broadcast in High Definition and shows with Wolves like JJ Barea, Wayne Ellington, Jack Sikma and Anthony Tolliver can be found on ITunes & online at 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 @ SEVEN (7th and Hennepin). GameON! is about in-depth interviews with the top players, great food, sports newsmakers and we get you inside your favorite teams (including the Wolves).

It’s GameON! powered by SEVEN Steakhouse/Sushi/Ultralounge/Skybar. You can friend us on Facebook 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!