Simons Says...




Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sweet History:
He might have missed a day-before-the-game practice but it was no biggie. No sweating on team Timberwolves. The man in the marquee knew that there was work to do on Wednesday. So, no one got it more clearly than #42. His mates knew he’d show up even if he was playing in a cast. And at the game, the loyal fans were mixed with the ones who knew something was up against Indiana. Tickets were 42 bucks down close or $4.20 and it wasn’t hard to know why there was a buzz at Target Center.

Kevin Love was working to extend his record setting double-double streak. Love looking for a record playing on a bit of a flat tire, a hurt leg. It wouldn’t be easy and that was evident in the first quarter when K-Love didn’t have a field goal. But to see him do it was special. That hard work for K-Love on that Wednesday night paid off.

Love is all that. His NBA peers know it. Praise is heeped on the Wolves star, in fact, Mav’s superstar Dirk Nowitzki calls Love the “most underrated player in the NBA”.

Love lays it out on the court. Every night and against every team. Love secured his place in the history books @ 6:51 in the second quarter. By the time he walked off the court before halftime at 3:50, Love had 12 rebounds and 10 points and was hobbling.

And for the record, it helps to be a little old school to understand the significance of just what Love is doing. We know Love has the modern day record that was grabbed from Moses Malone (between 1978 and 1979, which is the most since the NBA/ABA merger in 1976). Love is now is very elite company. Only nine players in NBA history have recorded 50+ consecutive double-doubles. Those are ALL Hall of Famers and I remember them well. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a force from the time he was drafted out of UCLA by the Milwaukee Bucks then finished as a LALaker. Who can forget Elgin Baylor, one of the first true high flying forwards. Big center Walt Bellamy, who played for the Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. There was the “Big Dipper” Wilt Chamberlain, former Rocket and Bullets star Elvin Hayes, Jerry Lucas (who finished his career as a NY Knicks star), former Celtics legend Bill Russell and Malone.

To be in that company, at this young age with so much talent and potential is remarkable. I certainly get it and I hope other fans do too. Love and what’s being built is reason to continue to come out and support these guys. And by the way, a sweet 101-75 home win over the #8 team in the East, Indiana. Well done!

You know, speaking of the Lakers, love ‘em or not, you best not be writing off the defending champion L-A-L. The best measuring stick a team like the Wolves could have rolled into town and played well when needed to get it done. The Lakers are going to be title contenders to the end of the NBA playoffs.

And so many people wrote ‘em off after losing to the Cavs before the All Star break. Wrong thing to do. The Lake show has responded after the mid season siesta and dismantled Atlanta, the Blazers and Minnesota. So they are meandering through the season, they’ll turn it up in time to be ready for another run.

Hey, I say this without being a Lakers fan. True. NOT a fan. But I get what’s happening. This team can’t possibly keep its motor revving that high all season long. That’s why the Lakers didn’t make any moves before the trading deadline. Did they field offers? Yep. Did they see deals that flicked their bic?! Nope. So while Boston, Miami, OKC, the Knicks and Nets and every other team moved and did the trade shimmy, the Lakers stood still. Look out. That team is sly as a fox. And ready to jump at another championship.

SimonsSays MAILBAG:
Jim in Anoka (via a visit to GameON! and at rod@gameontvmn.com):
“Are you watching the demise of the Heat? Losing at the wrong time and good for them. Do you think the best teams in the NBA are in the West?
Rod: Jim, thanks for dropping me this note, in person, at a taping of GameON! Jim, I wouldn’t start celebrating just now. There’s WAY TOO much season still to be played. Miami is reeling a bit right now but they’ll get into the playoffs and be trouble for any team. With LeBron, D-Wade, Bosh and the talented support players around them, anything can happen when the playoffs start. And while I don’t have the Heat reaching the NBA Finals, I do expect them to be a handful for whichever team they play.

As for the West, it’s hard to ignore San Antonio, Dallas, the Lakers. I’m sticking with the West and regardless of which Eastern team reaches the Finals, I expect the trophy to stay out this way.

DID YOU CATCH THIS?
After some very scary times spread over months and months, things are looking up for Denver’s George Karl. At first glance, one might think I say this just because the Nuggets signed Karl to a contract extension. But there’s much more.

Now that the Nuggets have relieved themselves of the circus that was Carmelo Anthony and the traveling trade rumor, this Denver team is playing well. In fact, if the playoffs started today, the Nuggets are not only in but they are smack dab in the Western Conference pack. Two solid point guards, Nene, Kenyon Martin and nice pieces added from the trade with the Knicks. They won’t win the West but they’ll be trouble too.

Just mentioning Denver to another opponent (come playoff time) brings up images of upset. Who can forget that picture of Dikembe Mutombo laying on the court, laughing, holding up the ball and celebrating in Seattle after leading the upset of the Sonics back in the day?! These Nuggets got that kind of moxie in their hoop DNA.

Karl is feeling much better these days. His stress down, his team playing well and the big money is still rolling in. But most of all, he’ll tell you he’s gotten a gift from God. His health. As Coach Karl has said, it sure is sunny and those bright skies are Carolina Blue (he’s a former and proud Tar Heel).

Lynx news:
The season is coming and the WNBA is celebrating its 15th season, which tips off on June 3, by selecting the Top 15 Players and Greatest Moments in league history.

To commemorate the historical season, the WNBA will select and honor the league’s most influential players since its inception in 1997. The Top 15 Players in league history will be selected based on their overall contribution to the league. Consideration will be given to such factors as on-court performance and ability, leadership, sportsmanship and community service as well as to contributions to team success and the overall growth of women’s basketball.

They’ll announce the Top 15 Players in WNBA history during the week of the 2011 WNBA All-Star Game in San Antonio.

These are big days for the Lynx because the 2011 WNBA Draft is just around the corner on Monday, April 11. Minnesota holds the top pick in the Draft for the third time in franchise history and, fingers crossed, look for the team to tab University of Connecticut forward Maya Moore with the selection. Back in 2006, the Lynx used the first pick to select Seimone Augustus. Last year, Minnesota sent the pick and Renee Montgomery to the Connecticut Sun on Jan. 12 in exchange for Lindsay Whalen and the second overall selection. It marked the first time in league history that a team had swapped the No. 1 pick in advance of the WNBA Draft.

The Lynx also has the fourth pick in the upcoming Draft by virtue of an additional trade with the Sun. That trade, made on the day of the 2010 Draft, saw the Lynx send Kelsey Griffin, the third overall selection, to Connecticut in exchange for the Sun’s first and second round selections in the 2011 Draft.

AND WATCH FOR:
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 more of your FAN thoughts in our SimonsSays mailbag. Until then, keep your chin up 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 redesigned show website (www.GameOnTvMn.com)