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3-pointer from Section 131 – Same as it Ever Was

Joann and I have tickets to 18 Wolves’ games this year. You might ask, “Why?” There is no answer to that. But we have them, and I’m going to post my impression of the team and each game right here on Bachblog. Lucky you.

Wednesday, December 8: Thunder 111, Wolves 103

Twolves vs ThunderAfter an early-season stretch where they lost five games by an average of 25 points per, the Wolves have been competitive every time out. In fact, over the fifteen-game stretch that started after the five-game disaster, the Wolves have gone 4-11 with a point differential of -2.4 per game. They’ve played against some tough competition over this span: the Lakers, Spurs, and Thunder twice each, plus the Mavericks and Hawks on the road.

But what has been bitterly disappointing is that the Wolves just can’t close out games. In this fifteen-game span they’ve lost games in which they’ve had leads of 15, 18, and 21 points. Eight of the ten losses over this span coming into tonight were in very competitive games:

  • at Lakers: trailed by 2 with 5:43 to go, lost by 5
  • at Hawks: trailed by 4 with 17 seconds to go, lost by 6
  • at Bobcats: led by 8 with less than 2 minutes to go, lost by 3
  • at Thunder: led by 1 with 57 seconds to go, lost by 10
  • vs Spurs: led by 21 in 3rd period, lost in overtime
  • vs Warriors: led 51-48 at halftime, lost by 10
  • at Spurs: led by 15 to start 4th quarter, lost by 6
  • at Knicks: led by 7 mid 3rd quarter, lost by 7

And so it was tonight. The Wolves led from the start of the game (and by as much as 18 points) until more than halfway through the 4th quarter. Oklahoma City took its first lead at 87-86, and never looked back. The Wolves dropped to 5-17 on the year.

A disappointing end again, but it was a fun three quarters for the fans. In time, we hope, these young Timberpups will learn how to finish games. Maybe the return of Jonny Flynn and, especially, Martell Webster will be a big help in this regard.

Basketball point oneDarko Milicic missed the game with bruised quadriceps muscle. He hurt it eight minutes into the Knicks’ game on Monday night (a game that the Wolves probably would have won if he wasn’t hurt), and is day-to-day. Nikolai Pekovic filled in for Milicic, but didn’t start in his place (Rambis went with a “small-ball” lineup and started Kevin Love at center). Big Pek stayed out of foul trouble and played well, finishing with 15 points.

Basketball point twoSebastian Telfair has generally played pretty well, if unspectacularly, while filling in for Flynn. Not so tonight, though. Bassy played 12 minutes without an assist, and recorded a team-worst -17 plus/minus.

The team will have to make a decision on Telfair soon. I suspect that Sundiata Gaines will be sent to the D-league when Flynn returns next week, but Telfair will likely be traded or released before the January deadline (provided Flynn and Luke Ridnour stay healthy). I hope he’ll land in a place where he can play. He’s been a solid professional in both of his stints with the Wolves, and is easy to root for.

Basketball point threeLove (21 points and 22 rebounds) and Michael Beasley (26 points) continue to put up big numbers. Tonight, though, neither played up to par. Love shot 7-22 from the floor and had his shot blocked 5 times. Beasley was 11-27 from the floor, and 3-7 from the free throw line (including four crucial misses in the final period).

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