June 1, 2004
The More I Think About It
The more I think about it, the more painful it becomes. The greatest season in T-Wolves history is over and it was really, really fun. I had a great time this season watching the team, and I think the T-Wolves gained some more fans in the land of 10,000 lakes. However, the game last night made me think about the what-ifs and the what could-have-beens and it is just depressing. Namely, what if Sam Cassell wasn't injured? He would have lit Gary Payton up. With Sam running the inside-outside attack the Wolves would have been unstoppable. I absolutely agree with Sam on the Wolves chances with him in the game.
Secondly, what it the Wolves were hitting their shots? Really it all boils down to this, the Wolves shot 43% from the floor last night, and 22% from the 3 point line. The only thing that kept them in the game were the refs gracious calls and their 92% shooting from the free throw line. And think about this, Kareem Rush's 6 three pointers, those 6 extra points he racked up for the Lakers, were the 6 points the Lakers won by. Ouch. But hey, more power to him, he stepped up and hit the big shots, unlike Spree and Wally. Spree shot 36% from the field (8-22!) and Wally shot 38%. That ain't gonna cut it. I don't want to fault their games too much since Spree's energy was contagious for the Wolves, but without Sam in the game, Spree and Wally have got to hit the big shots. And in the fourth, they were not hitting the big shots.
Finally, what if the Wolves didn't lost game one? If they hadn't lost game one, they would be coming back to the Target Center for game 7 tomorrow night. That would have been an achievement. Hopefully this shows KG and the rest of the Wolves how important winning at home is in the NBA playoffs. I know they were tired coming off the seventh game of the Sac series, but I'm sure they all wish they could have that first game back.
Anyway, the only silver lining in all of this is that Karl Malone and Gary Payton are finally going to get their rings. I don't give the East much of a chance. And hopefully Spree comes back next year. I think he will. The Wolves can pay him more than anyone, and he has got to know this is his best shot for a title, unless he also signs with the Lakers. This was a good year for the Wolves, no doubt about it. It was just what KG needed to keep that fire going. I don't think he or Sam will be satisfied with anything less than the Finals next year. I can't wait!
Posted by snackeru at June 1, 2004 8:38 AM
I disagree about the East. Indiana is without a healthy Jermaine O'Neal and Detroit is at home tonight. Detroit should wrap this up tonight. Detroit is beyond exceptional as a defensive team. The T-Wolves showed that the Lakers can be rattled with good defense. Detroit has a lot of bodies that can play against Shaq, but unlike the T-Wolves, their big men are not offensive liabilities. Well, Ben Wallace won't light it up, but he's friggin' Ben Wallace. Anyway, I too would like to see Karl and Gary get their rings, they deserve them. But I would not discount the East too quickly. Detroit is 31-12 (including playoffs) since the Rasheed Wallace trade. Prior to that, they were 34-22. This Detroit team is good, as you know I was singing their praises earlier. I think the Lakers are the team in trouble, not the Pistons. Granted, they have not beaten the Pacers yet, but I think they will. The Pacers cannot beat the Lakers, I'll give you that. Detroit is a different animal altogether.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at June 1, 2004 8:59 AM
I'll give you the point that a series against Detroit won't be a cakewalk, but Detroit will not beat the Lakers. No way. The Wolves were no slouches on defense either. They ranked 4th in team defense in the NBA. The only way anyone can beat the Lakers is to score points, and Detroit doesn't even come close to the Wolves potential for scoring. I think we'll see a replay of the Wolves-Lakers series: Lakers in 6.
Posted by: Shane at June 1, 2004 9:19 AM
Poppycock! Big difference between the Pistons D and the Wolves D. True the Wolves are good, but even they were not in the same class as the Pistons. Detroit is avg 87 pts/game in the playoffs and the Lakers only 84. So much for your theory that the Pistons can't keep up with the Lakers on points. Detroit is also a much more physical team then the Wolves are and that will frustrate the Lakers even more than they showed against the Wolves. I see too many pluses in Detroit's favor. Also, Rip Hamilton and Chauncy Billups are too much for the Laker guards anyway.
Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at June 1, 2004 2:06 PM