By Michael Rand
Our ongoing 41-part series continues with Brandon’s first Wolves game as part of our season ticket triumvirate. As you’ll notice, things didn’t quite go according to plan. Brandon is a longtime commenter and is the proprietor of World of B, a site dedicated to unicorns. Brandon?
Being a proud first-time season ticket holder, it didn’t take long for the reality of the Timberwolves’ low-end status to slap me across the face. Wondering if the Wolves had arrived on the scene, possibly turned a corner, rekindled a spark of excitement from the general populace? That’d be a no, as far as I’m concerned.
It started when my game one Guest of Honor canceled on me a few hours before tip-off. It was time to scramble for a new attendee willing to join me in the upper desk to scout the local roundball squad. Shouldn’t be a problem, right?
Friend one considered joining me, until he remembered he’d scheduled a haircut. Friend two was still sick from the previous night’s celebration and placed himself on the PUP list. Friend three didn’t even bother returning my call. A scroll through my cell phone contacts unearthed lost cause after lost cause; the few of my friends who passed the first test by liking basketball were soon disqualified due to an undeniable possession of a “life.”
With no accompaniment to the game, my disappointing fate was clear: eat the tickets, skip the game and watch from the couch. I am a season ticket-holder. I did not attend my first game. Awesome. Still, I had a duty to recap the goings-on, so I parked myself on the davenport and got to analyzing. Here is what transpired.
A back-and-forth contest ended up going to San Antone, 129-125 in double overtime. An ugly first half from both teams — missed shot after missed shot — gave way to an action-packed fourth quarter and overtimes, each team trading buckets and going on mini-runs until the dust cleared. Tony Parker turned in 55 points, Tim Duncan led the game with 18 uncalled molestations (right at his season average), and Jefferson led the T-Pups with 30.
- This was a winnable game. The Spurs are beatable, currently featuring a roster of Duncan, Parker and what appears to be rented players from a local JV high school squad. Nice defense on Parker, by the way, who scored the easiest 55 points in NBA history (it’s true; I looked it up), which was so fun to watch I broke out into an anger-sweat and flung a pillow across my living room.
- I’m driving the Fire Randy Wittman bus and will accept all interested travelers. The Witt couldn’t figure out how to defend a team that played most of the game with three inept offensive players on the court. The T-Wolves ran around on the defensive end acting as if they’d never seen a pick-&-roll before. ‘Twas ugly.
- Why is Mike Miller driving and trying to create his own shot? I love the guy, but he may have to be put on a three-dribble quota, like in Team Handball. Anything more, and it’s a dollar fine.
- Guys, I’ve been working on an impression. Tell me what you think. Here’s me being Randy Foye. [Brandon dribbles a basketball across half-court, passes to nearest teammate on the perimeter, stands in place until possession is over.] Gawd, what a breathtaking playmaker.
- The starting five — Jefferson, Brewer, Gomes, Miller and Foye — are painful to watch together. On offense, it’s four guys standing around trying to get the ball to Jefferson, occasionally spelled by Mike Miller and Corey Brewer taking turns playing the crowd-favorite “Hey guys, watch me drive the lane!” game that always ends in a gorgeous off-balanced brick.
- Here’s your best lineup, as far as I’m concerned: Bassy, Miller, Love, Jefferson and I-don’t-care-who (here is where we all sigh deeply for having no options at center). Those four bring quality play to the table; with them, I see shades of hope. Jefferson does what he does, Love is a joy to watch, Bassy is lightning-quick and Miller can catch fire at any time. They’re legitimately exciting.
Perhaps I’ll even get to see them in person sometime.