There was a lot going on. The peaceful transition of power in Washington DC was rounding third base and heading for home. The red hot NHL Wild was in a tangle with the Arizona Coyotes in St. Paul. The kids studying for tests. Work to do. Everywhere you turned, making a date with a left coast 9:30PM tip for the Wolves and the LA Clippers was a chore. And as it turned out, this Thursday was must see TV.
Not just because the Wolves played another outstanding game and continued to grow, mature and show those many naysayers that they CAN play. The game was nationally broadcast on TNT. It was played on a day when NBA All Stars were announced. It also comes on the heels of some other tremendous victories against Houston and OKC.
Minnesota started strong, lulled in the second quarter and then after half, did what they haven’t done all season. They played two strong quarters, outscoring LAC in both and closed. Finished, as they say today. The young, aggressive and talented Wolves matched LAC at every dribble. The most telling stat and one not lost on the Wolves were securing their first win in 11-games when the final is decided by four points or less. In short, this one did not get away.
It’s big. And on the day when All Star names are being bandied about in one of the most glam towns in the world, Wolves stud Karl-Anthony Towns showed why he deserves a roster spot on that team.
Towns IS the real deal. No headline here as we all know this, right?! I’ve said it time and time again and to the point of getting laryngitis for all the talk. Towns sealed the Clips fate with his play down the stretch. Towns has done it before but when KAT leads the Wolves to beat marquee teams, like the Clips and as he did last April when the Wolves derailed the Warriors, it’s another sign that the tide IS turning for this pack of Wolves.
KAT is king. The athletic big man dropped 37 points with 12 boards; he dished out five assists in nearly 41-minutes. KAT shot 17 of 24. He missed just 7-shots! IN many losses, Towns tells the media that the loss is on him. KAT takes it for the team. KAT lifts the “L” to his broad shoulders and carries that weight. Well, on this night, shift the “L” to “W” and cut a smile in the process.
Let’s face it, losing sucks. Especially when it’s a young and talented team that has enormous expectations. Fans ingest the possibilities and potential and when it doesn’t happen immediately or faster than you can order food at the drive-thru, you turn away. Grumbling. I get it. Losing makes fans uneasy, it gives this new media pack time to punch out stories of trades, dissention and change that needs to occur when in fact, all the team needs to do is grow. It needs to make its mistakes and find its footing and build on every win. And yes, build with wins like this against LAC.
Good news for Wolves fans. After the past decade-plus, it’s happening. All that losing has forced many fans away. That happens. But in the mix of all the other things to do, all the priorities you have to take care of and the many options you have for your attention, it’s going to be OK to turn back to the T’Wolves. The Wolves ARE on the right path and growing up right before your eyes.
Those hoop “have-nots” that I call them, on social media or who aren’t fans but love to bury the team, the fair-weather fan and other naysayers may have given up on the season too soon. I’ve said this recently and it’s truer today. The Wolves DO have a lot more in the tank. Yes, there’s work to do but wins against the Rockets and Thunder and Clips shows there is something happening.
So. In this day of take a cheap shot and run, hide behind nasty social media posts and all, go for it. Be one of the pack to play it off. If they keep up their play of late, the Wolves could find their way into the Western Conference playoff picture. They are not out of it.
It was a late night but a Thursday I’m likely not to forget. Much like the Wolves visit to Golden State in which played out like David vs. Goliath, that game remains on my DVR just to remind me. It’s proof. SO is this Clips win.
As sure as a Trent Tucker “3” ball. As glorious as an Abdul-Jabbar hook shot. As sweet as a Magic Johnson dish. And as much fun as a Flip Saunders Midnight hoops gathering in Mankato, bookmark games like these of late. It’ll make the payoff that much more enjoyable.
Keep your GameON! #stayOnTheWagon
Who’s Your Bestie, Pt. 2?
My buddy Hoops shot me an e-mail the other day to report that he enjoyed my most recent SimonsSays blog. He called to agree with my top-5 young guns and wanted to make a few suggestions.
Hoops wrote, “You did it right! I like Giannis a bunch, Kyrie is set for super stardom, I-T is the little BIG man and Porzingis will soon be the Man of Metropolis when ‘Melo (Carmelo Anthony) is shipped out. But how did you choose KAT over Andrew Wiggins? I don’t think I could do that”?!
Easy. As great as they both are….KAT, as he demonstrated in LA, is the vocal, emotional and tangible leader of these young Wolves. You hear him in post-game locker rooms and at practices; KAT calls it like he sees it. He stands and takes the shots.
KAT is becoming a visible leader in the NBA. And soon, I’m hoping, KAT will be a T’Wolves All Star. B-t-w, if you have your own top-5, want to weigh in on KAT or anything else, drop me your thoughts by e-mailing me at Rod@GameONtvMN.com. Feel free to compare notes. And keep your GameON!
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