By Michael Rand
[Proprietor note: this recap of Saturday's Wolves/Clippers game was written before news of today's 2 p.m. press conference and Wittman's firing broke. As such, it probably becomes even funnier and more poignant. Also note that we will be at Tuesday's game. That is all. Brandon (of World of B fame), you have the floor].
Man oh man, did you all miss one classic game Saturday night.
A quick glance at the box score reveals a 107-84 trouncing, which seems a forgettable loss in an already forgettable season, but that doesn’t tell the story of the experience at the Target Center Saturday night.
My date and I snuck down to the lower level midway through the opening quarter when we realized the 60 or so open seats in Section 109 were up for grabs. Turned out we made the right decision. Here in 109, we were treated to a double date on our left, guzzling beers like it was their job, and an couple two rows in front of them, doing the same. Fireworks were to ensue.
As the Timberwolves played the most uninspiring basketball I’ve seen in some time – I lost count of the number of traveling violations they committed at 74 – the real fun was in the stands. First, one of the double date couples erupted in a vicious argument, complete with the woman turning in her seat 90 degrees and berating her mulleted date with head shakes and finger points and the whole nine, while Mullet stared straight ahead in something of a drunken paralysis. It got so bad the second couple up and left for two solid quarters while the woman continued on her spirited diatribe.
When I directed my attention back on the court every so often, I saw the Wolves players treating Randy Wittman with visible disdain. During a play stoppage, Witt would call one of the players on the court over to him for some frustrated direction, and each time the player would half-heartedly nod while backing away slowly. It was a sight to see. At this point, Wittman is the parent chaperoning his kid’s prom, while the players are just trying to get back on the dance floor. It’s in one ear and out the other. He’s lost the players. Probably for good.
As the Wolves ignored their leader and threw up one brick after another, they took a predictable and deserved 14-point deficit into halftime. The Chaska varsity danceline took the floor for their routine, and this is where the fun started. The super-drunk chubby guy in front of us – also sporting a mullet, this of the flowing perm variety to go with a pencil-thin mustache and oversized white Sean John sweater, and no I am not making this up – could barely keep his eyes open and was draped over the seat of his date, a less-than-skinny woman now sitting in his lap and hollering nonstop. The rest of us were doing our best to pretend not to notice them while staring out the corner of our eyes, and all of a sudden the guy, eyes mostly closed, started emitting these incredibly loud “woos” during the danceline routine that caused damn near everyone in the arena to stare back and wonder just what in the world was going on. Incredible. The guy just half-laid there and yelled at the ceiling as his eyes rolled back in his head.
In the third quarter, a man walked down the row and made a rude remark to the “woo” gentleman, who promptly did his best to sit up and climb down the seats to attack him. He could barely function, however, and had trouble standing up, so the security guard jogged down and gently nudged him back in to his seat.
Later, the double date couples (argument resolved) started up a “we want Mad Dog” chant, which hilariously led the “woo” guy to turn around and try to go after them as well, only at this point he could do nothing more than turn around and slowly wave a fist in their direction, a mere four rows away from making any contact. (At this point, everyone within 50 feet was staring.) The usher again calmed down the gentleman though he began wooing pretty much constantly at this point, and the couples continued chanting.
Near the end of the game when the 100 or so remaining fans began sarcastically cheering for anything done correctly by the Wolves – and I mean anything, as in, “successfully inbounding the ball” and “making a layup” type stuff, which had to hurt the front office more than anything else so far this season — the couple gets up to leave, and of course of course the guy can’t even walk anymore, and he stumbles right into me and I have to gently push him up the stairs as the 15-year-old security guard looks like he’s swallowed his tongue in shame because he didn’t eject this clown an hour or so ago, and as the final buzzer sounds and everyone is still staring in our vicinity due to the lunacy that just occurred, I get up and mimic the stumbling fool on my way up the steps, to much snarky laughter, which may or may have not been the most childish thing I’ve done all month, but still, it was a moment of fun after two-plus hours of flat-out embarrassing basketball by our Wolves, so you know what, if I’m going to see a loss, at least it’s of the memorable variety. I’ll take the cheap laughs, and the empty stands, and the drunken antics.
But, as much as I love a good story, I admit I’d trade it all for a competent coach.
Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008-09 Timberwolves!