Section 203

Wolves recap: Brandon ushers in a new era, yawns

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

wolvesgame.jpgTake it away, Brandon!

Wolves! Raptors! Tuesday night! In February! Both stars injured! What a game!

Al Jefferson … who needs him?

Sadly, the answer is “everyone,” which I learned the hard way last night. There’ve been minor grumblings from the fan base that perhaps Jefferson was more suited as a second fiddle; that his lack of passing and defensive disinterest perhaps led to great stats but minimal victories. A Shareef Abdur-Rahim for a new generation, if you will. Well, after witnessing one game without him, I can confidently declare: no.

After a delightful dinner of an appetizer sampler and beers, my pal and I entered the Target Center to find it nowhere near half capacity. Worst crowd all season, hands down. New coach and competitive squad be damned; turns out the fans just wanted to see Big Al banging down low.

On the bright side, my man-date and I were able to snag posh seats in the lower deck (Proprietor note: now with 40 percent more bald!), where we were treated to such delights as Brian Cardinal bricking treys, Rodney Carney chucking airballs and an entire defensive unit stopping to admire the sight of Jermaine O’Neal tap-dancing around an overmatched Kevin Love in the paint for another easy bunny. (Closed-circuit to Wolves: help him out, fellas, he’s out of his element.)

All in all, the game was about as exciting as you’d expect. Love and Foye both had nice offensive games, but the Wolves boringly blew a third-quarter lead to lose to boring Toronto in front of roughly 35 bored fans. Sad.

Al Jefferson: get well soon. We are nothing without you.

Roughkat’s Wolves recap: Showtime in Minneapolis

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

jeffersongasol.JPGRemember a few days ago, when the Wolves played the Lakers? Well, Roughkat was there. And thus we continue our proud recap tradition from the cheap seats. Roughkat?

Last Friday’s game against the Lakers was exciting for several reasons. First, my dad was in town from Seattle last week and so I got to go to a game with him. While my dad may not be so enthusiastic about sports to the point that he writes on a sports blog, his passion for Minnesota sports has grown ever since he moved out of state. I’m pretty sure we’ve been to more games together now, either here in Minnesota when he visits or when I go visit him, then we ever did growing up.

Second, the Wolves were playing the Lakers. This was big for several reasons. I originally bought the Section 203 tickets by myself when the Pay the Pick promotion came out. My SELF and I were planning on going to most of the games together. So when Rand and Brandon wanted to go in on the tickets, I said yes because I knew it would be tough to get to all 43 home games (don’t forget the two preseason games). My Lady Friend’s only stipulation for splitting the tickets was that we go to the Lakers games and she gets to see her NBA boyfriend, Steve Nash. For the record, she wanted to see the Lakers because she lived in LA for 10 years and HATES the Lakers. That’s right, AV style all caps, HATES them. For obvious reasons, the same hatred doesn’t apply to the Clippers. Can anything that Frankie Muniz likes be that bad???

Also tagging along for the night was my brother and SELF’s father. Tickets were actually kind of hard to get for the game, but I found 3 more tickets in Section 236, but we ended up sitting in Section 237 because that was the first place we found 5 seats together. What??? you say. How could there not be five empty seats together anywhere in the Target Center? It turns out that the Lakers are quite the draw. Even the upper level was 95% full. The upper level concessions were 100% open and you could even buy hard liquor upstairs instead of just snow cones.

The Wolves did their part for most of the game, keeping the game close. They were playing the top team in the West, after all. Many people would say that all the wins the Wolves got in January were mostly against inferior teams. Could they hold their own against a top team or would they be blown out? Although there was a lot of purple in the crowd (and I’m not talking about the jerseys with horns on them), the crowd really stayed in the game and cheered the local squad. The Wolves played hard, but the Lakers were just too good. Kobe put on a show in the second half and the duo of Bynum and Gasol took advantage of the Wolves’ lack of size. My SELF would like to note that Big Al outscored Kobe in the game (34-30).

Other highlights were a couple of promotions. They picked one fan to make a three-point shot to win lots of $$$. They somehow ended up choosing an older gentleman who took a step inside the line and still came up three feet short after hoisting up a shot. That’s one way to ensure you don’t have to give out the big prize too often. The other was a Let’s Make a Deal type game. Two guys on the court, Guy A gets to either shoot a free throw or pass to Guy B for a trip to Mexico. Guy A declines and Guy B misses the free throw, so Guy A wins.

1) What’s your favorite memory going to a game with a parent or bringing yours?
2) I put the Wolves over/under for total wins at 33.5. Over or under? I say over.
3) What team do you hate the most

TFD: Timberwolves game recap

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

miller.JPGAlmost 24 hours later, here is your belated and condensed recap of last night’s Wolves loss to Detroit.

*Three-Man Weave (our nickname for Mike Miller, courtesy of Applecherry), played 36 minutes and attempted five shots. When M.C. Creme Fraiche got up for an abrupt nacho run in the fourth quarter, we filled him in on what he missed thusly: “you’re not going to believe this, but while you were gone Mike Miller caught a pass outside the three-point line, ball-faked, then dribbled into traffic.” He has played a combined 99 minutes in the past three games and scored a total of 13 points while attempting 11 field goals. Yes, a sharpshooter is taking one shot every nine minutes lately. While that perhaps compares favorably to Rashad McCants’ habit of taking one shot every nine seconds, it’s still frustrating. There were plenty of rumblings from a mouthy Section 203 regarding Miller, and it wasn’t from us.

*MC’s concern over the Wolves’ ability to finish off the Pistons proved to be prescient.

*Sebastian Telfair’s injury/foul troubles in the last two games have underscored the frightening lack of depth at point guard. He only played 20 minutes against the Pistons (and earned five fouls), and his lack of availability in the second half made the offense look like it was back in Wittman-ball. Perhaps finding a speedy youngster or veteran to play 10-15 minutes a game on a 10-day contract or two might be in order until Kevin Ollie can return. Either that or Three Man Weave can keep spinning his way up the court. Your choice.

*Kevin Love looked great with a 17 and 10 night, but he was strangely a minus-15 on the night in 26 minutes. Most of that came late when the Wolves fell apart.

*Hot dogs consumed: 2. Dollars spent: 2. We love Wednesday games.

*McCants got into the game … as one of the three featured players in Roughkat’s favorite promotion, the UPS truck race. Sadly, Shaddy finished behind Telfair.

*Gratuitous joke favored by MC Creme Fraiche: “I love Randy Foye’s game, but sometimes it seems like his heart’s in the wrong place.” It’s true! (Note: we don’t wish to make light of his condition; if it pleases the court, we will go back to the standard Wally Szczerbiak/promotions guy lookalike joke at the vast majority of home games).

*Roughkat has Friday’s tilt. No. 2 overall pick, Wolves vs. Lakers. This is the big-time.

Wolves recap: Brandon gets lazy, happy

Monday, January 26th, 2009

wolf.jpgWe’re starting to think Brandon likes the Wolves’ winning ways even less than he likes our statistical forays. All the W’s are sapping his energy. Still, he was the holder of the Friday and Sunday tickets. This is what he reports:

Randballers, forgive me, for there will be no formal write-up for this weekend’s games. I held every best intention of delivering you the recap you deserve, but life kept getting in the way. I attended Friday’s thrilling W against the Hornets, but the rest of the weekend was a whirlwind of family and job responsibilities. Amidst the unwelcome frenzy, the Wolves recap was an unfortunate casualty. Know that this has nothing to do with you. It’s me. I’m the problem.

If I can offer an abbreviated summary as I’ve got a blessed few moments between meetings: 4th Quarter Foye came up big down the stretch against the Hornets on Friday, burying a couple late buckets to drop a hobbling Hornets squad. The mancrush torch was officially passed that night from CP3 to our man Foye (he’s not as sexy, but he is local). The action last night was from inside the paint, as the Wolves overcame a big early deficit with monster games from Big Al and Kevin Love, the latter of which is currently clutching the now-mobile mancrush torch. It was a spirited weekend from the hometown ballers. Somehow, against all logic, these games keep getting more fun.

Save for the lazy behavior from your internet friend Brandon, everything is going right for the Wolves. Plenty of room for you on the bandwagon, if you so dare.

So how ’bout it, folks: Are you on the bandwagon? Do you have Wolves fever? We’ll be at Wednesday’s game, and we already feel a temperature of 102 coming on.

Timberwolves game recap: A laugher?!?

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

foye.JPGTimberwolves Fever has no cure, so why fight it? That’s the message we tried to convey to Kraig Applecherry, who was equal parts excited to take in one of his first NBA games ever and ready to hit the concession stand with reckless abandon last night. Obviously, he picked a good night to catch the infection.

As KA assaulted a bbq sandwich, peanuts and a bag of mini donuts — ending his decision paralysis with a flurry of purchasing — Randy Foye assaulted what might be the worst defensive team we have ever watched. Two weeks ago, we might have thought such a statement could only be made about a Wolves intra-squad scrimmage. That was before watching the lethargic and helpless OKC Thunder give away points like Halloween candy. Things we know for sure: Minnesota is a better team than Memphis and Oklahoma City, and the Wolves are certainly not the worst defensive team in the league.

Our end of the bargain was simple: we were content to 1) delight in a laugher, for a change — the second consecutive victory witnessed in person and the fourth overall for the Second Hottest Team In The League; 2) Devour two hot dogs, purchased for the bargain price of $1 each during our first Wednesday game of the year; 3) chart the all-out hustle and grit of Brian Cardinal, who has obviously learned a thing or two during his nine years in the NBA and the previous 11 spent playing for Gene Keady at Purdue.

On point three, this is all we know: Cardinal came in at the 1:48 mark of the first quarter with the Wolves ahead 34-16 (after the second of two made free throws by Kevin Love). He exited with 9:21 to play in the second quarter with the Wolves up 49-26. Plus-5, Brian Cardinal. During that glorious 4-minute stretch, these things were scrawled in the margin of our game program: “Back-door pass, Miller layup, 11:23.” “Knock ball away, leading to 24-second violation, 11:16.” “Pick-and-roll defense, 11:45.” “Pass to Love for free throws, 10:57.” This can only lead to the obvious conclusion that ALL BRIAN CARDINAL DOES IS MAKE PLAYS AND WIN. Later, in garbage time, he dished out another assist, made a steal, blocked a shot and had what appeared to be a key conversation with an official at the foul line. The Wolves increased their lead from 29 to 37 while he was in. That’s plus-13 for the game in less than 10 minutes of action — impressive even in a 42-point victory.

Cardinal left to thunderous applause, probably because he was replaced by the equally crowd-pleasing and hustling Mark Madsen. Mad Dog and Rashad McCants both entered the game for the first time with 6:56 to play, another affirmation of just how deep into the doghouse (and not the Mad Doghouse) Rashad has fallen. He’s played a combined 13 minutes and change in the past four games. The Wolves are 4-0 in those games. Rodney Carney, who is eating into McCants’ minutes, had two breakaway dunks in the fourth quarter that left Applecherry speechless. Perhaps the only disappointment is that KA was so busy stuffing his face that we forgot to make signs at the booth the Wolves set up.

Lingering questions after a 42-point victory:

1) Will the Wolves ever lose again?

2) But seriously, has this team turned some sort of a corner? We’ll say 40 percent of this is the schedule softening, 30 percent is a sensible rotation and strategy employed by Kevin McHale, 20 percent is an attitude improvement and 10 percent is pure witchcraft.

3) A greater need next year: a true point guard or a dominant low-post presence to rotate in with Love and Jefferson (and to sometimes play all three at once)?