Well...this was not a terrible loss, but it was scruffy and one we could scant afford. One month into the season and we've already used up all of our free passes.
As for what WAS ugly? Try this:
Love 44min 24reb
Salmons 30min 0reb
Thompson 27min 5reb
Cousins 28min 5reb
Hayes 27min 4reb
Combined 112min 14reb
Nice work there guys.
Theme we'll go with will be Dumbass Thrill Seekers.
Stats: 30min 5pts (2-5, 1-2, 0-0) 0reb 2ast 1stl 0blk 2TO
Salmons ( D+ ) -- the gap between the guy many of us wanted to get as a roleplaying SF (Kirilenko) and the guy we ended up getting as our rolepaying SF was never more evident than last night. Made several early mistakes losing the ball, once simply losing his dribble, once trying to pass at the last moment when he was wide open for a shot. And all night long was borderline useless aginst Kirilneko's size -- this was the same problem he had last year resurfacing. He's really a big guard, and simply cannot handle the bigger SFs out there (we went out and got a big SF this offseason who can, but unfortunately he can't shoot or stay out of the way on offense). Salmons, one of the league's worst rebounders if you call him a SF for years now, topped himself there tonight, grabbing 0 in 30 min on anight we got crushed. In some ways not his fault though, as aside from one terrible example in the second half whee the ball practically fell into his hands but his reactiosn were just so slow he lost it, on most of the night he was just simply physically overwhelmed playing against a 6'9" spider and Minny's bully frontline. Good plays were few and far between. Did make a nice pass on the interior to JT for an early flush, and did hit one three. Probably most significantly finally got a little midrange jumper to go at a critical time cutting the lead back to 3 at the 3:00 mark -- that was a no no no yes play as John had hit one bucket all ngiht long and sudddenly just made the 1 on 1 deciion to take a critical shot at a critical time. Luckily it went down. Defensively totally ineffective inside, but would have been decent on the perimeter if he and Reke had not spent all game having to dive back down inside to try to help our overwhelmed frontline.
Surfing Teahupoo -- There's surfing...and then there's stupid. And anybody who would take a look at this wave action and decide the appropriate thing to do was hop out of the boat onto a little fiberglass board falls firmly into the latter category. People have died. Will die in the future. Not a great loss.
Stats: 27min 7pts (3-8, 0-0, 1-2) 5reb 0ast 1stl 3blk 2TO
Thompson ( D+ ) -- maybe our most damaging non-performance because it came against the Wolves best player, and its failings were right on JT's home turf. Just manhandled and bounced around by KLove in there all night. JT has never been particularly strong for a guy his size, and from the moment I frist saw Love play in the NBA I was telling everybody who would listen that he was going to be a stud rebounder because he just has freakish strength. Guys like TRob have beach muscles, but KLove looks like Brad Miller's younger brother and yet people just bounce off him. Well, tonight it was JT's turn to bounce, an in fact he got bent in half on a few plays trying to go up for rebounds and finding the fire hydrant beneath him wasn't moving. Resulted in a flat beatdown on the glass, for both JT and the team (and JT's non-rebounding season continues in distrubing fashion -- his rebs per 36 over his career have been very steady in his first four years: 9.5, 9.7, 9.4, 9.6. This year its down to 8.2.). Things did not go any better when he tried to bang with Big Pek, although in the second half we got a few whistles to go our way on that one. Capped things by struggling to finish in a very physical game inside, seeming rushed, out of balance and rhythm. Two of his three hits were open dunks off of nice assists from teamamtes. Anyway, Jason got flat out beat down in there, no way to spin it or hide it, and that frontcourt beatdown was the game.
90 Foot Wave -- While we're on surfers, this guy apparently set a record for dumbness when he surfed this 90 foot wave off of Portugal. And apparently its already since been eclipsed by some other braniac.
Stats: 28min 20pts (9-22, 0-0, 2-2) 5reb 2ast 2stl 0blk 2TO
Cousins ( C ) -- I remember last year Cuz really struggled against Pekovic's man mountiain routine, and so I suppose you could say that he learend his lesson and played this one smart, or we did. Rather than trying to post Cuz up to go mano a mano on Pek and Love in there, for most of the night we ran pick and pops with him or swung the ball over for 18-20 foot jumpers. Which is a shot that Cuz is as good at as any center not named Bargnani, but which resulted in his offense being more perimeter oriented this game as our frontcourt guys largely got entirely chased out of the middle by the Wolves' trio. Did unleash a spectaculr spin move on Pek near the end of the first quarter, but most of the time when he went inside the big man wasn't giving an inch, and Cuz wasn't passing out of it, resulting in some ugly forces that hurt us and often triggered the Wolves break the other way. Defensively and on the glass was just being outworked by the Wolves bigs. Only one of our frontcourt guys with the ability to stand in there against them, but just didn't consistently do it, get back in the break etc. Quickly got into foul trouble in the third and we really struggled to get anything going without him until IT came in with a little juice. When he finally returned in the mid 4th, immediately picked off an interior pass and scored on little pick and roll with Reke, and after missing a baseline jumper came up with a great effort to squeeze in for the o-reb and finish. But while we got close, we never could get over the hump, and down the stretch Cuz again was not a consistent weapon for us in the post, missing a called post up out of a timeout, another time getting smushed in there by Kirilenko. The biggest concern/bag on this grade though was the rebounding. Only came up with 5, as his rebounding too is slumping. But worse yet, only came up with a single defensive board.
100 Foot Cliff Jump -- Because obviously the first thing you think of when walking along a 100ft cliff is to jump off of it. A least this is better than some of the other ones you see with them barely dodging rocks below.
Stats: 36min 20pts (9-14, 2-3, 0-0) 7reb 6ast 2stl 2blk 2TO
Evans ( A- ) -- Reke continued his stretch of great play, no matter how much the guys around him were struggling (Reke shot 9-14, the rest of the starters combined to shoot 16-42). Got off to the great start on both sides of the ball, scoring on drives, smoothly stroking a set shot three, making several excellent defensive blocks and steals, and dropping a behind the back dribble drive on AK47 of all people. Oh, and was rewarded for the excellent play with being the first King subbed out. Of course. At which point we proceded to score 2pts in the next 6 minutes of play as we lost our lead and never regained it. Of course. Came back in and flat locked up the ghost of Josh Howard inside on defense, and hit the first of several tough tough contested fallaway jumpers from the corners, which he is clearly getting a kick out of suddenly being able to do. After half was not as smooth, as it was full of surges and wanes, often coinciding with whether the little guy with the ball of the moment would give it to him or not, but also featuring several awkward drives and break opprtunities where it looked like he went searching for fouls that just weren't being called, and ended up throwing up weak little floaters instead of his normal stuff. Continued to get out on the break and hit jumpers, but no dominant stetches. Was trying to do what he could on defense, and was often making the right switches but simply not big enoguh to stop the Loves and Peks when he did. Also saw his scurb counterpart hit two threes on us in the third that hurt, both because Reke was having to go down and try to aggressively help our overwhelmed bigs. Capped the all around performance by leading us in rebounding, several times wading down inside to help rip a ball away from Love, otherwise our *** kicking in there would have been even greater. Its coming every night now, and that's a huge relief. Now if Cuz would just come and join the party...
Don't Try This at Home -- one gust...
Stats: 26min 7pts (2-6, 1-4, 2-3) 3reb 4ast 0stl 0blk 0TO
Brooks ( C- ) -- weakest game since taking over as a starter. Hit an early three from a belated Cousins kickout, but it was the only one he hit on the night. Wasn't getting it done on defense as he was jsut too easy to scrape off on picks, and Ridnour was popping free for open looks all night. In the early going was still functioning smoothly with the starting unit, but returned in the third in a different mode. It was chicken and egg whetehr our offense fell apart, and so Brooks decided to try to take over and bring uis bakc 1 on 1, or whether Brooks taking over and going 1 on 1 broke the offense, but either way, we got scruffy and ugly by the mid 3rd, and Brooks was trying to do it all himself. Led to him getting replaced by IT late in the quarter, and while IT was also for the most part just trying to do it all himself, he was considerably more effective at it than Brooks had been.
Extreme Ski Jum...er...Falling -- more Darwin award winners, this time with snow