Tag:Minnesota Timberwolves
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:16 am
Edited on: January 11, 2012 1:46 am
 

Report Card 1.10.12: Washington Wizards get a W



By Matt Moore

Your nightly report card gives you a big picture look at what happened each night in the NBA. Grades are granted based on team or individual performances, and are graded on a curve for each element. Leave your own grades in the comments. 

Washington Wizards


A win! A real win! The Nets (0-18 start) is safe! Crack the champagne! Or Shasta! Or something. The Wizards were desperate, the Raptors were lethargic, the Wizards' offense wasn't gangbusters but their defense was stout. The Raptors cut the lead to 8 at one point, and then the Wizards just hit them in the mouth. Trevor Booker was tough inside, Chris Singleton was productive, John Wall had an efficient game passing (and still can't shoot). It wasn't a great game. But a win to get them off the snide, their first of the season? That's an A.


Chicago Bulls/Minnesota Timberwolves

Since we grade on a curve, the Bulls weren't flawless on defense, and the Wolves game them a good scare. But they executed and executed and answered everything the Wolves tried to do in order to steal momentum. Rose came back from an ankle injury and still closed out the game in style, including a dagger right in the eye of Ricky Rubio to put the fire out.

But the Wolves were right there. And where so many teams would wilt and die under the Bulls' pressure, the Wolves stayed in there. What's more, they controlled the turnover battle and produced on offense. Defense was their problem (*cough* Kevin Love *cough*) but they still got some big performances from their stars (*cough* Kevin Love *cough*).

Portland Trail Blazers

The Clippers hung in this one, and that says something about where both teams are at. But the Blazers got what they needed, particularly from Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton. Felton took over with a whirling dervish of layups and stripped Blake Griffin down the stretch. The Blazers continue to pressure teams into mistakes. It wasn't a flawless performance by any means, but it is a revenge get from the game they let slip in Staples. Blazers keep rolling. 

Houston Rockets


They beat the Bobcats while shooting 39 percent from the field, 35 percent from the arc, and 75 percent from the line. They turned it over 22 times and the Bobcats were missing two starters. So no, I am not impressed. One thing to watch, though. Jordan Hill has become a legitimate center in this league. After being cast off by the Knicks, he's one of the league leaders in rebound percentage and is playing efficiently at both ends. A good gamble that paid off for Houston. 




Memphis Grizzlies down the stretch


The Grizzlies were in this. In all honesty, they should get a B for their work against an exceptional OKC team. But down the stretch, in a tight game, the continuously made stupid fouls against Russell Westbrook who they have never been able to contain when he's in gear. Rudy Gay repeatedly took threes when they needed him creating inside, then turned the ball over in one-possession game. The Grizzlies' final meaningful possession was a Westbrook block of a Conley layup. Someone has to step up and make plays for this team if they're ever going to get out of their hole.

Toronto Raptors


Lost to the Wizards. Au-to-mat-ic.





LeBron James and the Heat in the clutch



Oh, here's a new one! 

The Heat did what they are most known for, completely self-destructing in the fourth quarter. LeBron James did not attempt a field goal in the fourth quarter. In overtime he missed several key shots and was blocked. He took a poor shot to go for the tie instead of working inside and all that post work we talked about? Gone. 

The Heat have been incredible this season, and that's not media fawning, that's just how good their play has been. But Tuesday night was a reminder that that hideous version of themselves that cost their team a championship still exists. They freeze, they lock up, and they let the whole world rain down on their heads. They utterly failed against a team they had down 17 Tuesday night. 


Gold Stars: Kobe Bryant (48 points on 18/31 shooting); Gerald Wallace (20-4-4 and so many huge plays there are too many to count plus a dagger three); David Lee, Dorrell Wright, Raymond Felton, Al Jefferson (30 and 12), Russell Westbrook
Posted on: January 10, 2012 5:18 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 6:39 pm
 

NBA Power Rankings: Breakdown, Takedown Vol. 4

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver

ricky-rubio-12

The 2011-2012 NBA season continues to skip along. Here's the fourth weekly installment of CBSSports.com's NBA Power Rankings by Eye On Basketball's Matt Moore.

What did he get right? What did he get wrong? We're here to break it down and take it down.

1. Too High: Milwaukee Bucks at No. 20. The Bucks are one of those teams that you actually notice when they score. Because it doesn't happen with great regularity. Yet somehow despite a 2-6 record and five straight losses (without Andrew Bogut, mind you), the Bucks No. 20? Their schedule isn't overly difficult and their two wins are against the Wolves and Wizards. Not a whole lot to convince anyone that team is very good. -- RY 

2. Too Low: Houston Rockets at No. 27. The fourth worst team in the league? Really? Worse than the dysfunctional Kings, the raw Cavs and the frustrating Warriors? Yeah, they're 2-6 which is tied for last in the West, but they haven't had any easy road thus far. They've played multiple games without Kyle Lowry who is off to an All-Star caliber start and they're schedule has been brutal. Of their eight games, they've played seven against teams in the playoffs last season with the eighth being against the Clippers. The Rockets might be losing, but they haven't had a fair shake of the schedule quite yet. -- RY

3. Most Overrated: Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 16. Sure, it's basketball aficionado sacrilege to talk mess about the Minnesota Timberwolves right now, what with their internationally-acclaimed rookie point guard impressing beyond all reasonable expectations and the young core finally starting to develop. There are still baseline standards to fulfill, though, and Minnesota remains in the Northwest Division basement, trailing the fourth place Denver Nuggets by 2.5 games already. Their 3-6 record includes losses to the dismal Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. -- BG

4. Most Overlooked: Utah Jazz at No. 18. Utah deserves to be where Minnesota was ranked, if not a touch higher, after slapping together a 4-game winning streak completely out of nowhere. The Jazz have been a perennial playoff team by exploiting their massive homecourt advantage to full effect, and they still haven't lost at Energy Solutions Arena this year, a promising sign even if they still lack a signature win. This team seemed destined for chaos and/or rebuilding after a 1-3 start; instead, they're back in the playoff picture, at least for now. -- BG

5. Sure Thing: New York Knicks at No. 14. The Knicks are right where they need to be. They've been frustratingly average. Even in beating Charlotte at home Monday, they flirted with disaster. There isn't a lot from the Knicks yet that show they're a real contender in the East. Tyson Chandler is nice, but do they honestly look that improved defensively? They have enough talent to win games and stay in the playoff hunt, but who would you take them to beat in a seven-game playoff series in the East? Would you even take them to beat the Sixers or Pacers right now? -- RY

6. Wild Card: Los Angeles Clippers at No. 12. Every other team in the NBA has played at least eight games. Some have already played 10. The Clippers, meanwhile, have played just six through Monday. How does that make sense? It doesn't, and it also gives us significantly less evidence to determine how legit the Clippers are with their division-leading 4-2 record. They grade out exceedingly well offensively and below-average -- but not terrible -- defensively, so there's a decent chance they can make a push towards perennial top-10 status assuming they can avoid injuries. Then again, their wins have come against Portland, who played incredibly flat, and three teams destined for the lottery. -- BG
Posted on: January 9, 2012 10:03 pm
Edited on: January 10, 2012 12:25 pm
 

Kevin Love says he's the best NBA power forward

By Matt Moore

There are about ten legitimately great point guards in this league, and a crop of upcoming ones. It's a stacked position. But behind point guards, the most often debated position in terms of relative greatness in the league right now is power forward. The West last year was so stacked LaMarcus Aldridge was snubbed from the All-Star game and it was simultaneously an outrage and completely understandable. So anyone claiming they are the best in the league is a bold statement. Coming from Kevin Love? That's chipotle-jalapeno-curry bold. 

From ESPN Radio 1500 in Minneapolis:
Who's the best '4' in the league: you or Blake Griffin?

I believe I'm the best '4' in the league. I think you have to believe that you're the best. I think Muhammad Ali even said, 'I was the greatest before I knew I was.' I think everybody needs to have that mindset. That's part of winning the mind game from the very start. You have to believe it. You have to hold yourself accountable.
via Wolfson: Wolves will offer Kevin Love maximum, but will he take it? | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities – Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers).

Now, Kevin Love is the best rebounding power forward. He's the best perimeter shooting power forward. He's probably the most marketable power forward. But the best? 

Love is much improved defensively this year under Rick Adelman so far, ranking in the upper half defensively according to Synergy Sports. But both his rotations and man defense suffer from inattention and a lack of physicality. His offensive post work leaves a lot to be desired in temrs of footwork and positioning. This isn't to say that Love's game has to be flawless or that it isn't great on its own, but it's a long way from complete. 

Still, Love's right that the approach needs to be him saying he's the best. There's no upside to giving anyone else that title. It may be annoying that overconfidence is so pivotal for pro athletes but it is. For the rest of us, though, we may want to hang on for a bit, no matter how many 30-30 games he drops. 
Posted on: January 8, 2012 11:58 pm
 

Report Card: Nash doing his Nash thing

Posted by Royce Young


Ricky Rubio

OK, so it was against the Wizards. But they have John Wall, remember? And Ricky Rubio torched them. Off the bench for the Wolves, Rubio piled up 13 points, 14 assists and six rebounds while being a +29. It's not so much that he's dazzling and making us say "Oooh" every time he passes it anymore. He's just a dang good point guard and he makes the Wolves a much better team.

Steve Nash

Nash dished out 17 assists, but 10 came in the first quarter. While people like me fawn over Rubio, you can't forget that Nash is still the best setup man in basketball. Chris Paul is a better point guard, but nobody puts a pass right on the money for a good shot quite like Nash. The Suns have been pretty up and down, but have won two straight games to get back 4-4. And when Nash has it going, that's a team that beat a whole lot of teams.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder are the first team this season to sweep their back-to-back-to-back with an easy rout of the Spurs. Kevin Durant flirted with a triple-double (21-10-7) and OKC's bench piled up 53 points. But as coach Scott Brooks said after the game, he wanted to keep it in perspective. The Spurs, who are old, were playing without Manu Ginobili and in their fourth in five nights which meant a lot of their veterans didn't play. Impressive win, but against a wounded opponent.

Raymond Felton

Since calling out Russell Westbrook, Felton has been pretty average. He's gone 7-30 from the field in his last three games, including 1-9 Sunday against the Cavs that featured five turnovers. Felton's Blazers are 2-1 in that time, so that's no so bad and he's dished out 19 assists, but he isn't exactly looking quite as hot as he did after beating Westbrook.

Marc Gasol

Matching up against his brother Pau and Andrew Bynum, Mark wasn't good. He didn't make a shot in nine tries and scored only two points in 44 minutes. He grabbed 11 rebounds, had four steals and three blocks, but without Zach Randolph, Memphis isn't going to beat many teams getting nothing offensively from Gasol in 44 minutes.

Washington Wizards

I think we might just need to remake the "F" for each night into a little Wizard logo. Because this is becoming a nightly thing. It's almost a surprise if Washington is competitive. I don't think they've necessarily quit on Flip Saunders, but something isn't working for them. They're terrible, John Wall isn't making a move forward and the other players around him aren't helping much. The Wolves are a decent team but getting blasted by 21 at home while only scoring 73 points. Come on.
Posted on: January 8, 2012 10:43 am
Edited on: January 8, 2012 3:40 pm
 

Wolves will offer Kevin Love a max deal?

Posted by Royce Young

If I told you a player averaged 20.2 points and 15.9 rebounds per game for a season and then came out of the gates the following one doing even better putting up 26.1 ppg and 14.9 rpg, you'd say that guy is a max player, right?

Which is why there should be zero discussion around Kevin Love's worthiness of a max contract from the Timberwolves. The was a report last week that Love had not been offered an extension from the Wolves yet, but according to 1500 ESPN Radio in Minnesota, the Wolves are preparing to make Love a max contract offer before the Jan. 25 deadline.

"One team source said he would be 'shocked' if a maximum contract offer to Love isn't made by the 11 p.m. deadline on Jan. 25.," the report says.

After that, it's just a question of whether or not Love will accept. You would think pretty much every team would line up for Love's services (he averages at least 25-15 nightly for crying out loud!) and you can see that his game is evolving.

Love told the radio station in an interview that he's not so sure though. At least not yet.

"It's all in my agent's hands," Love said. "I just don't know what I am going to do. I'm happy to be a Timberwolf at this point and happy we're winning games."

Why would Love turn it down? Well, because during his time with the Wolves, he really hasn't had the opportunity to see a path to prosperity. The Wolves have routinely been one of the league's worst teams and if Love hasn't bought into the direction of the franchise, he's not going to re-up to toil away in last place for five more years.

Except finally this season with the additions of Ricky Rubio, J.J. Barea and Derrick Williams, there are actually signs of something happening with the Wolves. It's early and Minnesota just dropped an ugly game to the Cavaliers Saturday, but it doesn't look hopeless. I think you could still say the confidence level in general manager David Kahn is low, but with Rick Adelman coaching and the young pieces on the team, there's reason to believe it could be a worthwhile place to stay.

Love could take the easy way out and go somewhere else. But you know he'd much rather build a winner with the team that drafted him. If he sees something working -- which he should because the Wolves finally appear to be on the right road at least -- there's no reason he won't sign if, or when, the Wolves make that big extension offer.

Posted on: January 7, 2012 5:15 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 5:22 pm
 

Michael Beasley to miss 3 games with foot sprain

Posted by Ben Gollivermichael-beasley

The Minnesota Timberwolves will play their first back-to-back-to-back of the lockout-shortened season without their second leading scorer.

Forward Michael Beasley has suffered a sprained right foot and will miss games on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday against the Washington Wizards, Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls, respectively. CBS Fantasy News has the details.
Minnesota F Michael Beasley will miss at least the next three games with a sprained right foot. Beasley had an MRI on Saturday, which revealed no broken bones. He was injured with less than two minutes to play in Friday night’s loss to Cleveland. The Timberwolves are preparing for their first back-to-back-to-back set of the season. They start in Washington on Sunday, travel to Toronto on Monday and finish with a home game against Chicago on Tuesday. 
Beasley is averaging 12.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game on the season. He logs the second-most minutes of any Minnesota player, behind All-Star power forward Kevin Love.

In Beasley's absence, Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has a number of options and the minutes will likely be filled by committee. There's rookie forward Derrick Williams, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, who is averaging 7.9 points and 4.1 minutes per game off of Minnesota's bench. Versatile forwards Anthony Tolliver and Anthony Randolph and two guard Wesley Johnson all could see their roles increase.

After the back-to-back-to-back, the Timberwolves have two days off before a Friday night game against the New Orleans Hornets.

Earlier this week, Beasley suffered an unrelated but nasty finger injury
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:13 am
Edited on: January 3, 2012 12:56 pm
 

Report: Kevin Love has not been offered extension

By Matt Moore

Take this one with a grain of salt, but the New York Post's Peter Vescey is reporting that Kevin Love has not received an extension offer from the Minnesota Timberwolves, and should he not receive one in the next 12 days, prior to January 15th, the All-Star rebound machine will not be signing one, and instead be heavily examining signing his qualifying offer this summer to make him a free agent in 2013. 

The Timberwolves and Love have always had a contentious relationship. General Manager David Kahn was very lukewarm on the UCLA forward even when he flashed considerable abilities at both ends of the floor his rookie season. He struggled to get minutes under Kurt Rambis before finally bucking off the chains when he simply became too good to keep down. But Kahn has always maintained that Love is a part of the Timberwolves' future and he's not going anywhere. Why are we skeptical of this?

Because it's incomprehensible.

The Timberwolves-are-a-joke meme is almost dead. Drafting Ricky Rubio looks genius, regardless of the Jonny Flynn pick. He's honestly miles ahead of the pack for rookie of the year after the first week and he's not even starting. Derrick Williams looks good. Darko Milicic is serviceable. This team has been assembled as decently as it can be, considering the near-accidental way it has. Rick Adelman was the best hire they could have made and it's already paid off. Love is an All-Star. He's always said he just wants to win. Rookies never get away from their teams on the first contract if they have any value. The guaranteed money and extra year is just too big. 

And yet.

So we'll wait, and see just how insane this Timberwolves group is. But if history, common sense, and recent trends are any factor, even if you believe the Timberwolves are still a joke, not even they could make this punchline into reality.
Posted on: January 3, 2012 9:58 am
This entry has been removed by the administrator.

Post Deleted by Administrator

This message has been removed by the administrator.

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