Saturday, January 21, 2012

There is Something Happening Here...

The Franchise
Last night as I sat down to watch the Wolves play on ESPN versus the Clippers I had visions in my head of a bit overwhelmed young team coming in against a very motivated Clipper team and being embarrassed on a national stage.  I worried Rubio would show his flaws, Love would show he can't carry a team, Darko would be Darko, Williams would continue looking like a step behind rookie, Wes would continue to be a timid offensive player and Blake Griffin would fill up some spots on his season highlight reel.  Some of these things did happen but the ending was so great all would be forgiven and the Wolves would make an announcement that they are no joke this year, as their two young cornerstones would show their team, fan base and the nation they are the building blocks for this franchise.

As the Clippers climbed to a 10 point lead, of which they would hold most of the game, I noticed how arrogant this team was.  The Clippers think you should already be impressed with them.  The acquisition of Chris Paul and all the Kia Optima love for Blake Griffin has gone to their collective head's.  You won 32 games last year and were only 8-4 coming into this match up.  I get that they are in a different mindset this year, but their arrogance was annoying and off putting for a historically shitty team and currently above average team that has accomplished nothing.  

Blake Griffin is the number one culprit of this attitude.  Hey Blake, your going to get fouled.  It is part of the game bud.  Also, every big man in the game gets fouled hard sometimes, talk to Kevin Love, but more so talk to Dwight Howard about that.  Take it and shut up.  Staring down every guy who fouls you every single time it is more than a simple body bump is getting really old already.  You are a dunk contest winner not a NBA title winner, settle down you are still low on the totem pole.

Sorry for that rant, but the Clippers were really pissing me off with their arrogance.  It wasn't a swagger it was pure arrogance.  Swagger is backed by something, arrogance has no backing and until the Clippers accomplish something it can't be described as a "swagger".

On to the Wolves.  

How annoying is it that tonight against the Utah Jazz, Darko Milicic is going to go back to being a fire-less bum?  Hubie Brown of ESPN last night said he thought that the defensive match up on Blake Griffin was the thing that had light the fire under Milicic's ass last night.  Whatever it was, Adelman needs to bottle it.  Darko was a different person.  Aggressive post moves against a top shot blocker in DeAndre Jordan, swatting Blake Griffin multiple times and overall playing great defense against him.  In general Darko was engaged in the game.  If the Wolves can somehow continue to pull that out of Darko (no freakin chance of that) they'd instantly become a playoff contender.  

Finally Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, though both not having their best nights, showed in the final minutes why they are the two building blocks for the Wolves future.  Rumors are swirling that Love will and won't get the max contract extension.  For most of the game last night, you could see why some would argue he isn't a max contract guy.  He wasn't the main focal point of the offense, struggled to create offense and looked the part of a complimentary player instead of a franchise guy.  

As for our boy Rubio, he was 0-10 shooting, looking timid at times on offense, not creating a ton for teammates and overall playing his worst game as a pro arguably.  In the fourth quarter Rubio got his mojo going, even though not hitting shots, he was starting to create for others on offense and get to the free throw line. 

The Wolves climbed back into the game and I wondered if yet another marquee game for the Wolves would fall into the "moral victory" column instead of the "actual win" category.  Rubio started the way to getting the actual win with his shot with 29 seconds remaining.  The kid has big balls, it is already proven through 15 games that the kid isn't afraid of the big moment, and maybe one of the greats that actually relishes it.  After Rubio tied it with a three from the corner (his only field goal) he showed another strength many thought would be a weakness, and played tough defense on "Mr. Big Shot" (snicker) Billups.  

Then it was Love's turn, sure it was an easy shot in terms of buzzer beaters, it was wide open and he didn't have to create the shot.  The thing about it was that he wanted it, the team wanted him to have it and he drilled it...that is a go to guy.  He may not be the definition of a "go to guy" but for the Wolves he is our go to guy and after this week will hopefully be locked in for the next 5 years as such.

The Wolves needed this win, they are now 7-8 with a winnable game tonight that could pull them to .500.  More so this was a game against a playoff contender, in which the Wolves weren't 100% (neither were the Clippers), didn't play their best most of the game, withstood big runs by the opposing team and still came out with the win.  There is no way last year's team wins this game.  This year's team is different.

Ben's NY Resolution of posting everyday in 2012: 21-21 (already probably ahead of 92% of other resolutions made this year by people across the world)

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