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Tag:Michael Beasley
Posted on: April 14, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 7:03 pm
 

The Kahn Saga: Wolves still chasing their tail

Posted by Royce Young



David Kahn held a press conference Wednesday. During that, he had a fun quote.

We're ahead of where we thought we'd be with the roster.

I can definitely see his point. The Wolves went an NBA worst 17-65 this season, still don't have Ricky Rubio, just signed Darko Milicic to a $20 million deal, don't have a roster with any cohesiveness and really don't appear to have an end game in this rebuilding project.

Yep, right where they want to be.

Kahn has found his way on to the hot seat so he's doing what any self-preserving person would do -- pass the buck. As Ken Berger wrote yesterday, Kahn refused to give coach Kurt Rambis any sort of vote of confidence and basically just stopped short of saying he was gone. Berger said, according to connected sources, that Rambis is pretty much a guarantee to be fired.

It's natural to blame Rambis, who hasn't been able to employ his run-and-gun version of the triangle offense in Minnesota. Under him, the Wolves are 32-132. That's a 2009-10 season of 15-67 and this season of 17-65. You can call it whatever you want -- rebuilding, restructing, whatever -- but the reality is, that's just terrible.

Those two years have also come with Kahn running the show after replacing GM Kevin McHale. Kahn inherited a 24-58 team and turned them into a 15-win disaster. Before that 15-win season, he drafted Ricky Rubio and then took another point guard another pick later. Rubio still has yet to play for the Wolves and might not ever. His other point guard, Jonny Flynn, has largely been a disappointment.

Kahn basically tried to dump the roster and unload his cruddy players with a mind to acquire talent and cap space, a la the Presti Plan that the Thunder used to build a winner. Two problems with that plan: 1) The Wolves didn't draft Kevin Durant and 2) David Kahn is not Sam Presti.

I don't think anyone could even dare to sum up the Kahn era better than the good people at Canis Hoopus did. One particular point they addressed was Kahn's statement that the roster was nearly complete. To quote Hoopus, "This is a horrifying thing to think about, let alone take seriously." Nothing quite says Kahn is out of touch with his own rebuilding project better than that. To see a roster that's chasing its tail, running the hamster wheel or whatever "stuck in place" analogy you want, and say it's right you want to be and even better than that, it's almost done, is borderline crazy talk.

There's good news though. I wrote about it a month ago. The Wolves DO have talent. They DO have some players to build around. Kevin Love is very good, Anthony Randolph is talented and Michael Beasley seems like a potential star scorer that's just a bit lost. Then there's the dream Ricky the Savior. But it doesn't feel like Kahn has any idea what to do with those players. It's kind of like someone dangles a talented but troubled player in front of him and he can't help but bite.

And how is he supposed to convince Love to hang around when it's going like this? Love's not stupid. He's not going to hear, "We're almost there!" and buy it. Kahn's press conference was the "Mission Accomplished" moment of his tenure in Minnesota. He's officially jumped his own shark.

Did you know: The Wolves last two seasons are the fourth-worst in NBA history. History! And somehow it's all right on track?

If this is the near finished product, I'm not sure that's really all that inspiring. Remember the whole "We're transparent!" thing the Wolves tried to pull back in October? They published a full-page ad saying honesty was the best policy. One part read, "
We now have more shooting, athleticism and depth at every position, which will make us a better team this season. So will we challenge for the NBA championship this year? Not likely. Ouch. This honesty thing is a bit painful. But the reality is, we still need that one dominant player." Come on down, Anthony Randolph!

I guess the Wolves were right. They had a little more at every position. As a result, they won two more games. From 15 to 17. Progress! One more snippet for fun:

"There’s been a lot of talk this off-season. The naysayers certainly have been vocal. And while we can understand a certain amount of skepticism, we know we’ve turned the corner. And we’re anxious to get after that first tipped ball so we can start to prove it. Enough talk. It’s time to play."

Gotta wonder if they're regretting trying to pull that whole honesty thing. When you stink, you stink. Kahn trying to tell fans and media in Minnesota that things are right on track sounds more like a pathetic attempt at positively spinning a disastrous season than being transparent and honest. Transparent and honest would've sounded more like, "Man, we've got a long way to go. I really thought we'd be better by now."

Kahn senses the bell tolling for him, so he's pulling out the stops and pointing at Rambis. I think Rambis is a good coach. Maybe the roster hasn't responded to him, but it's not his fault here. Reality is, this roster isn't ready to win even if John Wooden were coaching it.

But don't worry you guys, it's all part of the plan. 
Posted on: March 26, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: March 26, 2011 3:46 pm
 

With another chance, Anthony Randolph flourishes

Posted by Royce Young



He's held the imaginations of basketball junkies captive the past three seasons. He's shown flashes of brilliance, moments of incredible skill and stretches of terrific basketball. He's been mismanaged, misunderstood and mistreated. He's been benched, traded and traded again.

And he's finally getting another opportunity. This time, it might be one that's helps him turn the corner and find the potential we all know he's capable of.

If you love basketball and aren't fascinated by Anthony Randolph, then you may want to re-think yourself. 

If you fired up NBA 2K11 and created a player from scratch, you'd probably wind up with something close to Randolph. Even down to the left hand. He's 6-9, long, absurdly athletic, skilled with the ball and can step out and shooter a good 18-foot jumper.

NBA general managers have seen the same thing. The Warriors drafted him 14th in 2008 out of LSU, but between Don Nelson's erratic rotations and benchings and the fact Randolph was a bit inconsistent in his own right, Golden State traded him to New York as part of the deal that took David Lee out west.

Finally, most thought, in Mike D'Antoni's system Randolph will flourish. He'll settle in behind Amar'e Stoudemire and flash his talents in transition. Except Randolph suffered the same fate. He only appeared in 17 games for New York playing at least 20 minutes only once.

David Kahn targeted Randolph in the three-team Carmelo Anthony deal and nabbed him at the price of Corey Brewer and taking on Eddy Curry's contract. And finally, Randolph was seeing some opportunities. He's been getting routine playing time off the bench, but it wasn't until Love went down with a groin injury a week ago that Randolph saw real opportunity.

And seize it, he has.

Replacing Love in the starting lineup Minnesota's last two games, Randolph put up a career-high 31 points with 11 rebounds against Dallas and then 24 and 15 against Oklahoma City's imposing front line. Wolves coach Kurt Rambis pretty much raved about Randolph's skillset.

"His versatility. You can see that he can handle the basketball. He can put the ball on the floor, create a shot. He can play in areas that make it very difficult for big people to guard him," he said. "With his length and his athleticsim offensively and his ability to handle the basketball and shoot outside, it makes him a very difficult cover for a lot of big guys in this league.

"We want him to be very active and assertive at the defensive end," Rambis continued. "We see him as someone that can play very good on-ball defense and hopefully come from the weakside and block shots and be very well-versed in pick-and-roll situations and possibly even switch on to smaller people."

It's not the first time Randolph has teased us though. With Golden State, he had multiple, random nights of 28 points, 13 rebounds. It just never all came together for him. But think about this: He's only 21. Sometimes things take time. Sometimes, a new opportunity and a change of scenery helps it start to come together.

Thing is, Randolph has looked comfortable, confident. He's appeared very sure of himself and how he fits in. Against the Thunder, Minnesota was running a large amount of their offense through Randolph. He was their option. And it felt good for him.

"I'm going to continue to keep doing what I've been doing," Randolph said. "Even when I wasn't playing, I'm going to continue working hard and go from there.

"I just want to win. Just go out there and play my game, what got me to the league. And I just want to try and win games."

The Wolves have been more competitive than you think they've been at times this year. Yes, they're just 17-56 which is awful, but they've dropped 18 games by six points or less. And seven of those by a single possession. They're a young team that just doesn't know how to win yet.

Randolph has become part of the yearly rebuilding effort around the Wolves. He's not an answer, but he certainly is something. Make fun of the Wolves and Kahn all you want, but let's be honest here -- they have talent. Between Love, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley, Jonny Flynn and Randolph, there's a core of young, albeit raw, talent there.

That's kind of become the problem though with the Wolves. It's become a collection of raw gifted players without much direction or plan. It almost seems like Kahn's building plan was grabbing players just like Randolph. But that's no good unless you know get a handle on how to use it all, or even better, develop it.

Kevin Durant came away impressed with the young Wolves Friday night. He said he thought Beasley was the type of player that could lead that young group to the playoffs. Maybe that's just Durant speaking highly of his old friend, but it's not that far-fetched.

Think about the Thunder three years ago. A young collection of talent that needed a direction. Granted, the gap between Sam Presti and Kahn is pretty much a Mariana Trench type of thing, but still. Maybe a better example is the Grizzlies who just needed a veteran that was ready to put it together like Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies were a ship without a rudder two years ago but it's all started to come together a bit with one piece. (And Chris Wallace isn't exactly the best and brightest GM out there either.)

I wouldn't assume that Kahn and the Wolves are counting on Randolph to be a savior or the missing piece (among many missing pieces I guess). But he is something you can build around. The guy has talent. Real talent. He's been held back over the years because inconsistency on his part, low basketball IQ and mismanagement of his talent. Now though, he might be getting it. Maybe. It is just two games. But two very good games.

Enough reason for a little optimism in Minnesota if you ask me. You can't dream of Rubio forever.
Posted on: March 19, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 5:08 pm
 

Lakers C Bynum suspended 2 games for flagrant

The NBA has suspended Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum for his flagrant foul 2 on Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley. Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver. 

Update (Sunday): The NBA announced on Sunday that it has suspended Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum for two games for his flagrant foul 2 on Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley. The Los Angeles Times reports that Lakers coach Phil Jackson was not particularly excited about it.
"I thought two games was excessive, but who knows?" Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "Like I said [Saturday], you never know. There's no standard. There's nothing to go by. It's all subjective."
Bynum will miss Sunday night's game in Los Angeles against the Portland Trail Blazers and Tuesday's game in Los Angeles against the Phoenix Suns. Bynum will return on Friday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Original Post:
Some have called Laker big man Andrew Bynum soft. Some have said he needs to get meaner. Potentially in an effort to do just that, Bynum clocked Michael Beasley with an elbow Friday night in Los Angeles.

Bynum was immediately hit with a Flagrant foul 2 and was ejected. By rule, Bynum will have to serve a one-game suspension for the foul as well.



It was an obvious dirty foul and a no-brainer for the officiating crew. Stuff happens on the court when guys are moving fast so a lot of times I tend to give the benefit of the doubt, but there's no question here. Mainly because, why would Bynum use his elbow to defend Beasley when, you know, he's a shot blocking seven-footer?

All Bynum has to do is put his arms up and he's automatically a presence. There's just no reason for him to go flying at Beasley with a wing out. I watched the replay 10 or 15 times and I just can't figure out the purpose for Bynum doing that. It honestly doesn't make sense. Initially, he looks like he's trying to avoid contact, but then it's like he says, "Ah, screw it," and throws that big elbow out.

It was a dangerous play as Beasley was in the air and because of the contact, went sprawling out toward the floor, Luckily, nobody was injured. I'm all for hard fouls because there's nothing wrong with going hard into someone, as long as it's a clean, safe play. This definitely wasn't.

I'm sure the NBA is reviewing the foul and will determined if it should be upheld, but I imagine it will. The Lakers next game is against the Blazers Sunday.

Posted on: November 24, 2010 9:39 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 8:38 pm
 

Shootaround 11.24.10: Winners and losers

People trying to keep LeBron out of the All-Star Game, Jarrett Jack doubts the Heat, Durant and Beasley as young guns, and T-Will is out of sight, out of mind, all in today's Shootaround.
Posted by Matt Moore

  • There's a movement afoot specifically to keep LeBron James out of the All-Star Game. It's things like this that trot the fine line at the nexus of funny, pathetic, and mean. Props for the idea, but just because you don't like a guy's ego, is that really reason to sully a system to honor play that's been in place for decades? And this is all beyond the fact that it would take coaches about forty five seconds to select him as a reserve and then all of a sudden the person atually voted in would have a hamstring injury.
  • Terrence Williams looked like a star in the making last year. Now he's been suspended for two games for "violations of team policy" whle Avery Johnson is talking about him "not getting" it. A perfect example of how a coaching change can dramtically alter a player's forecast. Meanwhile, if Williams is on the block, the Grizzlies and Bulls should both be on the horn to see if they can grab him at a bargain bin price.
  • Jarrett Jack, a winner his whole career except for when he wasn't winning, which was most of his career, is already ready to pack it in on the Heat, saying their failure could curtail others from going the superstar route. In other news, Jack put the cart before the horse and said "Done!" before walking off. The Hornets are 0-1 since Jack arrived, clearly indicating he's not a winner. See what I did there? You see? Because he said ...
  • Spurs fans were joking about Ime Udoka being signed last week, and now it has happened . Still bizarre they thought Udoka was more valuable than Gee.
  • Flip Saunders, getting digs in on Doug Collins. Better hurry to get them in, he may not be around long.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 8:04 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:01 pm
 

Shootaround: 11.23.10: 99% likely to fail

Vince Carter comes up lame, the Miami Heat are struggling, a few New York Knicks analyzed, Steve Francis heads abroad, and a whole lot more. Posted by Ben Golliver

  • Orlando Magic wing Vince Carter went down during Monday night's game against the San Antonio Spurs and told reporters after the game that he he felt "sharp pain go through my knee, under the kneecap." That doesn't sound good. 
  • Here's the stat of the night for you from Miami's surprising double-digit home loss to the Indiana Pacers: "The Heat bench played a total of 74 minutes on Monday night and scored a whopping 4 points. The last time they did that? Nearly a decade ago, when the Heat bench mustered only two points in a January 2001 loss against -- guess who -- the Indiana Pacers." 
  • Kevin Pelton shows some love for New York Knicks rookie Landry Fields. "This year's standout has been New York Knicks guard Landry Fields, who has excelled as a starter from opening night. Fields' polished game was no secret among Pac-10 fans, but he got little national hype because he played for an undermanned Stanford team that finished tied for eighth in the conference. Fields has exceeded even his collegiate performance, especially on the glass. He's grabbing 20.6 percent of available defensive rebounds, which is phenomenal for a shooting guard (the average for the position is 11.0 percent) and nearly identical to his defensive rebound percentage as a senior in college."
  • Pacers blog IndyCornrows.com isn't nearly as excited about the win over the Miami Heat as you might expect. "Jim O’Brien urged that they caught Miami on an off night, saying it could be fool’s gold. While the possibility exists, O’Brien will always speak cautiously. O'Brien sips his glass half empty to not allow his team to gain complacency, it was more than fool’s gold: it was a stout defensive effort by the Pacers. Words have been expressed more often to give credence to the team’s defensive efforts, but tonight featured a culmination that resulted in not only a solid road victory, but a definitive win, led by a trio of much maligned Pacer members."
  • Isiah Thomas is at it again, talking about his sexual harassment case and overdose on sleeping medication.
  • These NBA labor negotiations sound like they are off to a great start. Not. Union chief Billy Hunter says a lockout next season is 99% likely to occur and goes on to say everything is working as it's supposed to, with the NBA generating profits at a solid clip. "Our contention is that the system that was put in place delivered everything it was supposed to deliver,” Hunter said, referring to the initial framework adopted in 1999. “The players never got a cent more than they were supposed to get. And ironically, if you review the press clippings from that era, you will see that the deals that were struck were lauded by the N.B.A. as having been major successes for the owners. So why now at this stage are we now saying that the system doesn’t work and it’s got to be overhauled?”
Posted on: November 16, 2010 11:08 am
Edited on: November 16, 2010 11:29 am
 

Game Changer 11.16.10: Comeback failures

Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.

THE BIG ONE: MAVS TAKE A BAT TO THE HIVE

Take note of this. The Hornets were on the road in a hostile environment. They were facing a team that features a set of players that maximizes on several of their weaknesses, most notably the fact that no one has anyone who can guard Dirk Nowitzki and the Hornets have zero perimeter defenders to chase down Jason Terry, regardless of the results of a playoff series two years ago. The Hornets faced a stifling performance against Chris Paul which held him to two points and four assists in the second half and some heroic plays from Dirk Nowitzki on broken plays.

And the Hornets lost by only three.

If that's not a sign of how good the Hornets are, I don't know what is.

So how did they shut down Paul? Easy. They threw the kitchen sink at him. Take a look.



That's three defenders closing on Paul as he comes off a deep-wing three and rolls baseline. Nowitzki is tall enough to block out the sun so Paul can't lob, Kidd is cutting off the corner three even as he hedges to force Paul off the quick baseline turnaround, and Tyson Chandler is another big body keeping Paul baseline and cutting off the wing outlet. Paul's forced to move baselines to the corner with the shot clock winding down and take a contested step-back three that misses badly. Piece of cake. You just have to throw three defenders at him and hope Willie Green isn't smart enough to figure out that if he slices down the lane behind the defense Paul's going to have a perfect wrap-around for him.

In short, the Mavericks' defense was sublime in the second half and it still almost wasn't enough. Forget best point guard. Chris Paul so far might be the MVP.

GO-GO-GADGET LINES OF THE NIGHT

Tyrus Thomas: 20 points on 11 shots, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals. We're going to ignore the 7 turnovers because we're nice like that and Thomas frowns enough.

Runners-Up:

Dirk Nowitzki: 25 points on 7-12 shooting, 10 rebounds, 3 assists. Nowitzki's rebounding is the highest both in raw per-game and percentages it's been in three years.

Carmelo Anthony: 20 points, 22 rebounds. We're going to give Melo the Gadget but this has to come with a preface. He took 19 shots, had 6 turnovers and was playing the Suns who couldn't rebound if Mose Malone's clone showed up for them last night.

Monta Ellis: 27 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, just 1 turnover in 31 minutes.

WHAT YOU MISSED

IT CAME FROM THE BLOGS

From Orlando Pinstriped Post on their quietly dominant win over the Grizzlies:

I believe the Magic really emphasized exploiting low-post size mismatched tonight, but with varying results. They cleared out to allow fifth option Quentin Richardson post up the far smaller, less physical O.J. Mayo inside, for instance. And Rashard Lewis had his shot against the likes of Sam Young and Tony Allen, but Lewis didn't enjoy similar success. Playing primarily at small forward, he shot 3-of-13 from the field and 1-of-5 from three-point range. While the Magic want--and, frankly, need--him to shoot a better percentage, I think the sorts of looks he got tonight are more in line with what we can expect for him the rest of the way. Brandon Bass' emergence at power forward has eaten into Lewis' time at that position, which means more play at the three for Lewis.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF COMEBACK

Similar to the Hornets, the Jazz faced insurmountable odds and still had a chance at the game winner. Unfortunately, Andrei Kirilenko took a pass from Deron Williams who was being shadowed similar to Paul, and elected for some sort of reverse underhand double-pump monstrosity of a shot intead of resetting the offense to work for a three and the Jazz' winning streak of comebacks fell short. The scariest part for the NBA? Kevin Durant woke up last night with 30 points on 17 shots. They hammered the Jazz inside to get to the line, and walked out of Utah with a win.

ANATOMY OF A NEAR-COLLAPSE

The Dubs were up by about a billion last night, killing the Pistons in the first half, before nearly letting the Pistons shove them back (while the Pistons were nearly shoving each other, but we'll get to that in a bit). Here's what it looked like, via our GameTracker.



FINAL THOUGHTS

The Nuggets have very nearly no reason for letting the Suns beat them last night. The Suns were on a back to back after a remarkably hot performance against the Lakers in LA and have no rebounders. Bad stuff.

On surface, Michael Beasley's big night looks great. 28 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists. But dig a little deeper and you find it took him 25 shots to get there and he was blocked three times. Beasley needs to be the Alpha Dog, he doesn't need to go off half-cocked, regardless of how bad the Wolves' offense is.

New Jersey? Not as bad as you think.

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: November 15, 2010 5:53 pm
 

What We Learned, 3.0



Posted by Royce Young


We're not there yet, but pretty soon, we'll be at the point in the season where we can quit saying, "Hey, it's still early." Pretty soon, the early season trends we've seen will no longer be potential anomalies, but actual cold hard facts in figuring out who's good and who's not.

But it's still early. We're not there yet. Though we're not far off. And part of getting there is taking in the information we've got. So here are five things to have been learned from the last week in the NBA.

Remember the Spurs?
You probably aren't thinking about them. You're thinking about the Hornets who impressively moved to 8-0 over the weekend. You're thinking about the Lakers who despite losing two straight, look really, really good. You're thinking about if anyone can hang with a healthy Celtics squad. You're thinking about what's going on with the Heat.

But you probably aren't thinking about the San Antonio Spurs.

If you had to guess, what do you think their record is? Don't look. If I hadn't just watched them play Sunday night, I would've probably said 6-3. Maybe 7-2. Nope, the Spurs are 8-1 with only a loss to the undefeated Hornets. And they are winners of seven straight.

Every year without fail, we all try and write them off. We try and say, "Nah, this is when they get too old." But every year, again without fail, the Spurs are right there.

They are off to their best start since their last championship season in 2007-08 and have a roster that's completely clicking. Richard Jefferson is providing the extra scoring punch needed. Tony Parker is totally healthy and looking like his old self. Tim Duncan is settling in to a role that suits his older self perfectly. And the bench has guys like Matt Bonner (7-7 from 3 against Oklahoma City Sunday), Gary Neal and George Hill that can make an impact any given night.

It's just another boring old Spurs team again this season. And that's what makes them so dangerous.

It's time to talk about Michael Beasley. Before the season started, most agreed that Beasley getting away from South Beach and moving north was probably a good thing. And then David Kahn said Beasley stopped smoking pot, so of course there we all are expecting big things from him.

But he started slow. He was playing like his former inconsistent Heat self putting up 21 one night and six the next. So naturally, we all immediately forgot about Beasley and moved back to complaining about Kevin Love's playing time.

Except look at Beasley's last week. 42, 35 and 25, bumping his season average to 20.5 a game. He's scored at least 15 points in six straight games, is shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3 and is getting to the line a decent amount.

What we're seeing right now is what we heard would happen all summer. Beasley can be a team's top option. Albeit, maybe a top option on a bad team, but a top option nonetheless.

He's a dynamic player that can balance the small and power forward positions extremely well, going inside and out. He's far more athletic than he appears and truly has a mature NBA game. It's always been the stuff upstairs that has held him back, but as of now, he looks to be figuring it all out.

Is this something we'll see all season? Hard to say. But today, Nov. 15, 2010, Michael Beasley is looking like a legitimately good NBA scorer. 

The Heat are far from invincible. I think the rest of the league may send gift baskets to Boston. In two games, not only have they shown the blueprint for beating Miami, but they've executed it so perfectly that it's almost hard for teams to not try and replicate.

Basically, it's simple: turn them into a halfcourt team and move the ball offensively, making them work every possession. Eventually, your shots will come and the Heat will start taking bad ones, sinking into a one-on-one style game.

Again, too early to really draw any huge conclusions. We're watching a team that's a favorite to win the East, but is facing an unprecedented situation. It's almost an entirely new roster. No sport works as much off chemistry and knowing the guy next to you and his tendencies than basketball. And the Heat are essentially learning entirely on the fly.

Against the bad teams, they've overwhelmed them with speed, talent, size and everything else. They've absolutely suffocated teams and overpowered them. They've looked like an unstoppable force. But against teams with a scheme, a plan and some equal talent, the Heat have looked confused, befuddled and overmatched. All symptoms of a group getting by on talent alone and playing out of sync.

But give it two more weeks. If a consistent style of play isn't there and a real idea behind what they're trying to accomplish, that big red panic button might be getting a dusting off.

Good thing nobody panicked in Utah. It was just a few weeks ago, I sat here writing something about the Jazz's 0-2 start and how nobody should worry, but in the kind of tone that sort of suggested maybe you should worry.

Well, don't worry. The Jazz are good. Really good.

Yeah, they keep digging themselves in weird holes early. But the way in which they're digging out makes them look even that more impressive. They are one of those teams that really looks like it ha a switch to flip on and boom, they're playing well.

Utah basically demolished the entire upper scale of the Eastern Conference in one wave of the hand, beating Orlando, Miami, Atlanta and Charlotte all on the road in a week's time. If that doesn't impress you, well, you're probably a Laker fan.

But it was so bright just a week ago.
The Knicks were at 3-2 with a slate of very winnable games directly ahead of them. Thinking of a 6-4 start definitely wasn't out of the question, and really, fantasizing past that wasn't too much of a stretch. Philly, Milwaukee, Golden State, Minnesota and Houston were waiting and the Knicks felt good about a decent start to the 2010-11 campaign.

Except they lost all five. And then there was that whole Kevin Love 31 rebounds thing.

It was definitely premature to think the Knicks were to turn everything around this quickly. Amar'e Stoudemire was a big addition, but he hasn't been playing great and in order for the Knicks to be anything, Stoudemire needs to be excellent.

New York's offense is predicated on making shots and in order to make them, they need open ones. Mike D'Antoni had a point guard that was terrific at creating those in Phoenix, but Raymond Felton doesn't quite have that same knack.

It's too early on to write the Knicks off yet because the back end of the East appears to be wide open in the seventh and eight spots, but with a four-game road trip ahead, those illusions of a 6-4 start may quickly be the reality of a 3-11 one.
Posted on: November 12, 2010 10:33 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 11:44 pm
 

Kevin Love goes berserk with 31-31 in Wolves win

Wolves forward notches insane numbers, of 31 points and 31 rebounds in win over Knicks
Posted by Matt Moore

Kevin Love notched 31 points and 31 rebounds tonight in the greatest performance across the two categories in 28 years. The last player to notch a 30-30? Moses Malone in 1982. Absolutely unbelievable. And on top of it all, the Wolves beat the Knicks for their second consecutive win 112-101.

Love actually hit 30 rebounds first is the insane part. He nailed a three-pointer with 1:17 remaining to hit the 31 point mark, and naturally received a standing ovation from the crowd. 31 rebounds is a team record for Minnesota.

Love gets a ton of his own offensive rebounds which some say pad his stats, but in reality, don't you want your player to pursue his own miss? Meanwhile, a performance of this magnitude is simply overwhelming. That it drowns out Michael Beasley's 35 points is something in and of itself. As Walt Frazier said, Love was "rebounding and astounding."

It may be time for Kevin Love to start getting these minutes regularly that he's been denied. What's stunning is the team still likely still not big on him due to their own steadfast scouting of him as a poor defender with attitude problems, which no one else can figure out.

For one night at least, Kevin Love is a legend. A simply amazing performance for one of the league's young stars.

For comparison, here's a list of players who didn't have 31 rebounds total coming into tonight's games, this entire season.

Yao Ming (5 games)
Shaquille O'Neal (4 games)
DeAndre Jordan (9 games)
Carl Landry (7 games)
Spencer Hawes (8 game)
Timofey Mozgov (8 games)
Hasheem Thabeet (8 games)
Hamed Haddadi (8 games)
DeSagana Diop (8 games)
Ronny Turiaf (7 games)
Jermaine O'Neal (7 games)

And hey, Love was only 24 rebounds short of the record of 55 set by Wilt Chamberlain!
...

Yeah, Wilt was insane. But Love's pretty good, too.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com