Simons Says...




Thursday, January 6, 2010

New Year is here:
There was a lot of grumbling as people left the Target Center Wednesday night. Players weren’t happy. Fans were miserable. The staff that had to work late, long after all the cars had motored home, they were punchy. Coach Rambis was really unhappy but more on that in a moment.

Losing again in a game the Wolves should have won is getting old for all concerned. The players especially were frustrated after the 108-105 OT loss and even more so after dropping Monday’s nail biter game in Boston. Against Charlotte, the Wolves rallied from a 16 point hole to go up and take command but they couldn’t close, or as the players like to call it, finish the game.

Fans were reacting. Players did too. Kevin Love was vocal saying the team was “flat” early and it showed during the game. Coach Rambis called the team’s defense “sub-par” and he wore his emotions on his sleeve all night. Tugging as his hair, jostling around in his courtside seat and just not smiling much.

This is not the first time this has happened this season. Games that got away from the Wolves include two against Denver, that home game in December against Utah and a handful of others. Some fan comments:

Jim in Bloomington: “I was at the game and thought, for sure, they’d get it done in the fourth quarter this time. What is the deal?”

Good one but I don’t have the answer. Bouncing the ball of legs, missed shots in the paint, bad passes and impatience, at some point, give way to smarter play. They just have to do it and do it consistently so it’s expected. Now, these guys are thinking about it and that isn’t good.

Blane in Maple Grove asked me: “I saw you at the game and you always speak so highly of the team even though they are losing. This was a team they should have beaten.”

I agree and I speak highly of the team, here and on GameON! because I can see the growth and potential. Hey, it’s good that guys like Love come out and say this loss hurts more than any of them, for a number of players to stay hunched over their lockers after the game and think about it. It will eventually turn around. Get this; remember how we talk about mistakes, well the Wolves allowed 7 of the Bobcats 13 points to be easy in OT. They couldn’t control the ball. For the game, the Wolves coughed up 16 turnovers for 25 points and, in any sport, if you don’t protect the ball, you can’t win (see Brett Favre). Bottom line, if the Wolves players and team didn’t care, I’d be spewing venom. They care though and this will turn around.

Another fan thought. Colin in Shoreview: “I thought the Boston game could have turned it all around for the Wolves and now the schedule only gets tougher”.

Right again. Portland is here on Friday and before January is wrapped, we’ll see San Antonio, the new look Orlando Magic and more. Bring ‘em on because the Wolves have to get it done, either against Charlotte or Boston or Portland or whichever team.

In short, I expect to see a tremendous effort if not a win on Friday against the Trail Blazers. Let’s expect to see better defense, more energy for 48 minutes, a crackdown on ball control and a good crowd to share the love. The Wolves made Kwame Brown look like an all star on Wednesday and that will change. Kevin Love continues to show he’s an NBA all star with a 35 point/15 rebound game. But did you see his numbers with a CLOSE look? Nearly 45 minutes played and he shot 11 of 16 from the field and 10 of 11 from the line.

I heard from fans grumbling about Coach Rambis. I’m not jumping on him. He’s making good moves and since he can’t play the game and execution on the court is the Achilles heal, let’s just wait for the team to sync up and make plays before jumping all over for blame on the bench.

As I said last week and have said before and trying not to sound like Sid. Players get this former Lakers ring holder. They may not always like the Coach but, as I’ve said, do you always agree with your boss?! Rambis has been there, done it with a handful of NBA Championship rings and a workmanlike NBA career. He’s got the patience and knows how to lead this very skilled and talented team. Give him and the team a bit of a break. And by the way, that fan was very loud in his disapproval. It’s ok, in my book, to yell BACK at him fans.

The New Year has started, admittedly, a bit shaky but 2011 has lots of room to improve and, as Luke Ridnour told me, “THAT’S what we’re here to do”. And it reboots Friday!

Bang for the Buck:
My GameON! intern, the “Kid on Campus”, told me this is a good deal since he’s actually bought in and so I thought I’d let you know it’s cool. College Night, presented by Wells Fargo, takes place during all 15 Wednesday night games. All students with a valid school I.D. will get in for just $5 per game, with the first 100 people getting a free upgrade to the lower level. Students can also buy a College Night T-shirt for $30 and get free entry into all College Night games.

Real deal against Rip City:
Say hi if you see me Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers and we’ll put you in the fan segment of SimonsSays very soon. And also enjoy the Timberwolves Meal Deal, presented by K102 Radio. The Single Meal Deal includes a $20 ticket, a hot dog, chips and a small soda for just $19. This offer is available for every Friday and Saturday home game this season, excluding marquee games.

Thanks for the e-mails and the uptick in communication from you out there. I very much enjoy getting those and next week, we’ll share some of your FAN thoughts in our SimonsSays mailbag.

Until then, Happy New Year and see you Sunday on GameON! I’d love to have you out to one of our live GameON! Tapings this next Tuesday at Courtside Bar and Grill in Anoka on Jackson Street. More details and guest listings on our show website (www.GameOnTvMn.com)