Simons Says...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Love the hometown fans:
I was expecting something completely different. Perhaps after seeing all the green in the house last Sunday when the Celtics visited, I was thinking a Chitown Southside bunch would make it hard to watch the game. I was wrong.

As it turned out, the fans with whom I sat around were there for the talent and the “possibilities”. It’s not every season when the scheduling God’s give us great teams like Boston, Chicago and Miami all within the same timeframe.

No complaints from me or the spirited group of home grown and visiting fans in our section. You know, I always arrive at the Arena hoping for the best but this season, understanding that I have to get real and prepare for some letdown. I get that. Watching the Celtics, I left more impressed by the comeback the Wolves delivered than the fabled defending Eastern conference champions (although I still like them to get to the finals this season).

It’s been a hard season and an even harder second half of the season for the Wolves. Since their win on New Year’s Day, the Wolves have lost 33 of the 41 games they’ve played. From the start of the season to December 31, the Wolves were 8 and 25.

I’ve continued to be one of the Wolves watchers who insist there’s plenty for which to play right to the last play of the season…even as our home team is hopelessly out of the playoff chase. This young, talented and impressionable team only has to look next to them on the court during this Eastern visit week to find that challenge.

Arriving and watching the ImpressionaBULLS, I left with a smile on my face. These guys are really good. It’s true. In Chicago, there’s a young and tremendously talented team that has found just the right pieces to go with players acquired through the draft. Together, they’ve jelled into a legitimate title contender. Deng, Boozer and for goodness sake, Derrick Rose (great argument for MVP too) have transformed the Bulls into a dynamo. Rose not only controlled the first half against the Wolves (as he’s been doing all season for Chicago) but he’s become one of the games best. No question. And adding Carlos Boozer as a free agent from Utah was brilliant.

The Wolves had to take something away from that loss. Watching and learning from Chicago’s intensity, their shooting ability and their unselfishness with the ball. Add to that, it’s a team that doesn’t make many mistakes (turnovers). And the Bulls defense was impressive. That’s the team Minnesota strives to copy.

Same can be said for Boston and to a lesser extent, Miami. The Heat still trying to find a groove as the playoffs near. To the delight of jilted LeBron James fans in Cleveland, the Cavs stung the Heat last night. We’re seeing the best of what’s in store for April, May and potentially, June in the NBA’s Eastern cities.

No, I enjoyed the effort displayed by both sides Wednesday night at Target Center. I just wanted a different outcome. I’m patient and know its coming.

His letter to my SimonsSays MAILBAG at This from Karen in Ramsay:

“If you were going to pick one reason the Timberwolves have had so much trouble this season, what would it be. Love your show. Thanks for the positive Wolves coverage”.

Ms. Karen, thanks for the nice note. Thanks for watching too. My buddy asked me this very same question tonight at the game and I actually have two points that I’ll lump into one and then add a compliment.

If the Wolves protected the ball MUCH better and didn’t have so many turnovers per game and they were able to consistently move the ball (much like the Celtics, Bulls and Mavericks do), they would improve their on court performance dramatically. Remember, this is the best rebounding team in the NBA thanks in large part to Kevin Love. When you do all these things well, that normally means the team is strong defensively as well. “D”, rebounding, protecting the ball…that’s what playoff teams are made of. That’s what I want come Christmastime.

And that compliment?! Becoming a much improved rebounding team. That’s a big part of the turnaround that we’re hoping will happen.

And don’t forget, a very special celebration for basketball fans is here.

We’re giving fans an upclose and personal opportunity to meet and talk hoops with the Lynx at a special Women’s Final Four Championship game viewing party on April 5th! On the night of the Women’s NCAA title championship, GameON! is teaming with the Lynx to host a viewing party at our host location Courtside Bar and Grill in Anoka! It’s easy to find, great food and a dozen HD big screens to watch the game with us! It’s Tuesday April 5th starting at 6pm for the show taping and then 7:30pm, it’s GameON! for the national championship game!!

Remember, 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 they gotta’ pick University of Connecticut forward Maya Moore. More info to come but make your plans now to join us and other basketball fans at the Courtside Bar and Grill on April 5th!! Go ahead and e-mail me if you need more information. We’d love to have you in the house with us!

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 (