The NBA: Minnesota Minnows

Can Kevin Love and the T-Wolves make an improbable
season-ending run to make the playoffs? 
*Unless otherwise specified, all images are form the Associated Press.

"Sometimes if things don't go their way or they don't play as many minutes, guys just seem to start thinking about that. You can't do that. If you want to stay in this, forget about the individual stuff and think about the team."
—Wolves coach Rick Adelman, giving an address about the value of the Timberwolves, who are currently on a 7-game, 13-day road trip that could define their season.

That’s a little tough, though, when the team is missing its top PG and its usual starting SF.

As we all know, Ricky Rubio is out for the season after tearing his ACL, and Michael Beasley’s toe is still hurting.

So what happens to the Wolves now?

Mineesota has lost 6 of its last 4 games. They are now 2 full games behind Houston for 8th spot in the West.

Can they still make a late run and barge into the postseason?

Nope. Won’t happen.

Though the Timberwolves are undoubtedly better than last year's 17-65 squad, they still have a bit of work to do before they can be considered perennial contenders.

Sure, they’ve beaten teams like San Antonio, Dallas (2x), the Clips (3x), and Philly, but the one thing really missing from Minnesota, the secret sauce of annual playoff teams if you will, is consistency. As much as they’ve beaten really good teams, the Wolves have also lost to some really bad ones, like the one against the Hornets last March 10.

And yes, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are two of the most visible and likable young stars in the game today, but hype and ad presence don’t necessarily translate into wins.

In its current road trip, Minnesota will still face San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and the Lakeshow. Needless to say, winning all those will do wonders for their playoff chances.

But will they win all those?


With Rubio out and their failure to deal Beasley for a quality patch-up PG, which also should’ve freed up more playing time for Derrick Williams, I believe the Wolves are destined for an almost-playoff season.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

They’re young. They have tons of promising talent (Williams and Nikola Pekovic come to mind), and the impending disappointment of this year should only make them hungrier for next season. They will be a better team next year, but, right now, they’re just one of the minnows.

After the JUMP, March 17, 2012 stat-stuffers:

LAC over HOU, 95-91
Chris Paul scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Clippers overcame a slow start to defeat the Houston Rockets. Blake Griffin added 18 points and 8 rebounds, while Randy Foye contributed 15 points, 5 boards and 4 assists for Los Angeles, which earned its second win in three games. Courtney Lee netted a season-high 25 points and Goran Dragic had 11 with a career-high 14 assists for the undermanned Rockets, who had its two-game win streak snapped.

CHA over TOR, 107-103
Gerald Henderson scored a team-high 24 points to help lead the Charlotte Bobcats over the Toronto Raptors DJ Augustin recorded a double-double with 23 points and 11 assists, and Corey Maggette chipped in 21 points as the Bobcats have now won six straight against the Raptors. Jerryd Bayless paced the Raptors with 29 points to go with 6 assists and DeMar DeRozan added 20 points as Toronto dropped to 2-2 on its current five- game road trip.

NYK over IND, 102-88
Jeremy Lin scored 19 points to lead a balanced New York attack, and the Knicks remained perfect under new head Mike Woodson. Lin also had 7 rebounds and 6 assists for the Knicks, who are 3-0 since Mike D'Antoni stepped down from his post. Roy Hibbert had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who lost for the sixth time in eight contests.

CHI over PHI, 89-80
CJ Watson dropped in four three-pointers en route to a team-high 20 points as the Chicago Bulls rallied in the second half to down the Philadelphia 76ers. Watson was playing in place of reigning MVP Derrick Rose, who missed his third straight game with a groin injury. Chicago finished a six-game homestand with a 4-2 record. Jrue Holiday netted a career- high 30 points to go along with 5 assists and 5 rebounds for the Sixers, who lost their third straight game.

NOH over NJN, 102-94
Chris Kaman and Marco Belinelli scored 20 points apiece, leading a balanced New Orleans attack to a victory over the New Jersey Nets. Jarrett Jack netted 16 points and handed out 6 assists, while Lance Thomas and Trevor Ariza each tallied 10 points to snap a three game losing streak for the Hornets. Deron Williams contributed a double-double with 20 points and 12 assists for New Jersey, which has now dropped four of its last five.

DAL over SAS, 106-99
Dirk Nowitzki poured in 27 points and the Dallas Mavericks surged to a win over the Southwest Division-leading San Antonio Spurs. Jason Terry scored 17, Rodrigue Beaubois added 16 points and Jason Kidd contributed 14 points with 10 assists for the Mavericks, who won their third straight and are within 4 1/2 games of first place in the division. Danny Green and Tim Duncan each scored 17 to pace the Spurs, who had a three- game winning streak broken.

DEN over BOS, 98-91
Kenneth Faried had 18 points and 16 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets survived a late surge by the Boston Celtics. Danilo Gallinari added 20 points and Arron Afflalo finished with 15 for Denver, which improved to 4-3 on a nine-game homestand. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett scored 22 points apiece to pace the Celtics, who dropped their second straight game.

UTA over GSW, 99-92 (OT)
Derrick Favors had a breakout game with career-highs in points, 23, and rebounds, 17, as his three-point play with 27.8 seconds left in regulation sent the game to overtime. Utah would outscore the Warriors 12-5 in the extra session for the victory. Jamal Tinsley and Paul Millsap tallied 13 points apiece to give Utah its fifth straight home win. Robinson finished with 19 points, David Lee scored 18 and Klay Thompson netted 17 as Golden State dropped its third straight contest.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Jrue Holiday (PHI) – 30
Jerryd Bayless (TOR) – 29
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) – 27

Jrue Holiday and the Sixers bowed to the Bulls despite
Chicago not having Derrick Rose.
Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Derrick Favors (UTA) – 17
Kenneth Faried (DEN) & Kris Humphries (NJN) – 16

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 16
Goran Dragic (HOU) – 14
Deron Williams (NJN) – 12

Rajon Rondo's 16 dimes weren't enough to
propel the Cs past the Nuggets.
Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Chris Paul (LAC) – 5
Jerryd Bayless (TO) – 4
A LOT with 3!!!

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
A LOT with 3!!!

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Jerryd Bayless (TOR) – 5
A LOT with 4!!!

March 17, 2012 First Five
C – Roy Hibbert (IND) – 24pts, 12rebs, 2asts, 2blks
F – Derrick Favors (UTA) – 23pts, 17rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 1blk
F – Kevin Garnett (BOS) – 22pts, 9rebs, 5asts, 1stl
G – Jerryd Bayless (TOR) – 29pts, 6asts, 5 treys, 4stls, 2rebs
G – DJ Augustin (CHA) – 23pts, 11asts, 3stls, 2rebs

Roy Hibbert and the Pacers continue to stand tall
in the East.

Honorable Mention:
Kenneth Faried (DEN) – 18pts, 16rebs, 1ast, 1stl, 1blk
Jrue Holiday (PHI) – 30pts, 5rebs, 5asts, 1stl
Courtney Lee (HOU) – 23pts, 5asts, 5stls, 3rebs, 1blk

Daily Zap:


*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Sports Network.
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