Simons Says - March 13, 2014
I guess I’m in to the end.
The other night, my SimonsSays PODcast team made me declare, in or out, for this Wolves team for the post season ahead. I had to stop and think. Credibility certainly is a factor when making declarations such as this. Most fans, especially after the season that it’s been, want you to dish hard before dishing nicely. I see that every day in the email box. But for as crazy as things have been in this campaign, since the All-Star game and heck, in the past 1-days, I’m not ready to count ‘em out. I won’t. There, I did it. Still love my PODmates but I declare. I’m in. And here are 5- reasons why.
This team has Kevin Love. Unlike recent years, Love has solid players around him and he’s having an enormously successful season. Double-double’s nearly every night out and the passion of a Lion. Now, Love might not be able to carry the entire team to the dance but if a few other players step up, e v e r y n i g h t, Love is the centerpiece for what will make a remarkable playoff rally story. Stay injury free is vital as well.
It’s easy to kick a team that’s lost as many close games as the Wolves AND had one of the most amazing scoring teams in the same season. But Kevin Martin is an important element in this discussion. Martin is easily a 20-point scorer any night he’s on the court and just recently, after numerous nagging injuries this year, has flashed the play made Minnesota woo over him during the off-season. Martin has been to the dance before. When he played with OKC and Houston, they won many more than they lost. When veteran players taste that cognac and they are being “paid”, they love it and only want more. Martin is “gametime” to me. He works well with Love. K-Mart is one of coach Adelman’s guys. Martin needs to shoulder some of the load. Martin knows this drill. Watch his run to the end of the season. K-Mart is one of the keys.
Collectively, the Wolves need an amazing streak to wind up the year. I love it when, after a huge win, players stand and declare “We shocked the World.” If the Wolves put on their most serious winning streak in years, if they pound the LA two-some of the Lakers and Clippers at Target Center in days, then beat Memphis, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix, they’ll make up that ground for which they are trailing and be back in the race. The Wolves will be legit. I can already hear the skeptics, “can’t be done,” “never happen.” OK. I hear you but one at a time. It can. It just has to happen.
The Wolves need help. In the West, OKC, SA, Houston and the Clippers are all at the top. Portland and Golden State appear are shaky but appear safe unless a big skid hits. Where the Wolves are looking is on the bottom of the invitation list. Memphis and Dallas are neck and neck with Phoenix nudged to No. 9. The Wolves are now only 3.5 back of the Suns and 5.5 behind Dallas for the final spot. You win those head-to-head games against those teams just mentioned, you are back in baby. NO question.
The intangible. Look at the Spurs (and by no means am I comparing the two teams equally). Winners of 8-straight, they just turn it on and find another way to win. A team doesn’t have to be SA to showcase a win streak but winning and getting on a roll is huge. For one, players will tell you it makes coming to the office more enjoyable and they expect to beat their opponent. This is big.
Some fans are tired of me being optimistic. I get that. But be real. GameON! TV viewer Scott writes, “Why can’t you just see that this team is NOT very good. Rubio is worthless, Love wants out and the others would play minor roles with other teams.” I couldn’t disagree more. Ricky Rubio’s game has stepped up, Shabazz Muhammad is now off the bench and getting PT and while the bench’s inconsistency has been noticeable, it won’t last. So Scott, thanks for writing but with the end of winter, step out of that negative box and enjoy the ride. The highs and lows. It’s worth it.
So, I’m in. I’ve said it before and stick to it. This run for the playoffs is do-able with 63 games played (32-31) and 19 left. As I’ve said before, Minnesota has to make every game a masterpiece. Do the Al Davis thing, “Just Win Baby.” Go out and get it done. Defy the critics. Silence the skeptics. No more Knicks and Raptors efforts. Showcase your strength as you do against OKC, Dallas and Portland at home. Lock in from the opening tip and don’t count on a late rally to win. EVERY night. Just as you did when you found a way to win in Sacramento then turned around and pounded it in the Pepsi Center against Denver. 5-weeks to the finish line and you, collectively, have the option to make it happen. Oh yeah, and beat the Heat IN Miami. Do it.
Yes, I still believe. I think it happens. Maybe it’s March Madness playing with my head. Maybe it’s watching the Wild lose its firm grip on the post-season. I see it happening. I’ll stand and deliver however it ends. Mr. Optimism isn’t wavering as he looks at the standings. It’s time to keep your GameON!
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