True Hoop Drew

I breakdown basketball constantly in my mind and occassionaly translate it into blog form

Tag: minnesota timberwolves

Rubio brought down to reality for a moment vs. Kings

It seemed every night I looked at the stat sheet and watched Ricky Rubio highlights this season there was something there that would make me smile. He’d either have a crazy plus-minus, a ton of assists or some dazzling passing highlights.

Last night as Minnesota beat the Sacramento Kings 99-86, Rubio wasn’t as great as he normally is. He had a nice stat line, starting the game and playing 38 minutes he scored 9 points along with 8 assists and 8 rebounds but his plus-minus of minus-three was startling.

How is this possible? He is the next Steve Nash who always led the league in plus-minus! This can’t be right!

Obviously I’ve been watching a little too much of lockout-season NBA and I have my expectations too high. Rubio finally had a “not-so-amazing” night, yet still a near triple-double.
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Clips beat Heat in NBA’s first playoff game this season

I planned to watch every NBA game last night. I did, but only one ended up mattering. Heat at Clippers with a 10:30 tip, thank God by the second half no other game was on (because trust me, I would have been flicking back and forth between a Timberwolves game if one was on).

Last season was tough for Miami in a lot of ways. One way was that night in, night out, they got everyone’s best shot. The rest of the league had a grudge against Miami and wanted to prove they weren’t the league’s best yet without earning it.

That’s impossible to happen again this year with the condensed schedule (part of why I picked Miami to win 54 games). But last night, Miami was in their first playoff game of the regular season on the road and lost in overtime, 95-89 to the Lob City Clippers.

Both teams came into the game having played the night before and lost. Before the game began, here were the keys I was looking for:
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Bama beats LSU, Boris Diaw vs. the Knicks

I almost forgot college football existed. In fact, I almost forgot anything that isn’t the NBA existed. But my attention was distracted from my first love to the national championship last night, but not for long.

Alabama beat LSU in dominant fashion to capture their 14th national championship all-time and first since 2009. Nick Saban also coached to win his third title in the BCS-era, the most of any coach.

The game was of course a rematch with LSU winning 9-6 in overtime in the first meeting this season in Tuscaloosa. In eight quarters plus overtime between these two teams, one touchdown was finally scored by Alabama on a 34-yard touchdown run by Trent Richardson with 4:36 left in the game.

The clear-cut two best teams in the country played twice and only one touchdown was scored between them. Yet it was never boring, just impressive, with the athletes on each side of the ball and the plays being made every down.
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The future looks bright in Minnesota

No team has jumped up everyone’s “NBA League Pass Power Rankings” quite like the Minnesota Timberwolves this season. It was expected early in the season just because we’d finally get a chance to see rookie Ricky Rubio for the first time in his career but now the Timberwolves are turning into one of the most interesting teams in the league night in night out.

The Timberwolves dropped the Washington Wizards to 0-8 yesterday with 93-72 win led by rookies Rubio and Derrick Williams who each posted a +29, +/- number. Rubio led the way with his most assists yet, 14, five of which accounted for each of Williams’ field goals, four three-pointers and another sweet alley-oop dunk.

I’m leaving out Kevin Love from the equation who had another monster game with 20 points and 16 rebounds, now averaging 25.4 points and 15.0 rebounds on the year, find me someone else doing that.

The core of Rubio-Love-Williams has to be getting fans in Minnesota excited, I know I’m getting excited (writing about how they are the next great team after they beat Washington). With Rubio looking like the next Steve Nash and Williams starting to remind me of Shawn Marion, the Timberwolves may easily become the team I watch more than any other for the next 10 seasons.
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LeBron James’ improved post game

LeBron James has gotten off to one of the best starts to his career this season with the 6-1 Miami Heat. He has certainly looked like the best player in the league, as he should, treating teams like Charlotte, Minnesota and most recently Indiana like JV squads.

The more confidence LeBron plays with, the better he looks. This has always been the case. It’s the teams that are able to take away his confidence and comfortableness that have the best chance to beat him.

In recent years, LeBron has looked the least comfortable in the post. The critics have always pointed this out and pointed to this as one of the reasons Miami wasn’t successful at winning a championship last season.
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How important is it to be in your prime?

As the Miami Heat were busy eliminating the Boston Celtics, I got thinking about how it was clear that the Celtics did not have anything left in the tank and were too old and too injured to keep up with Miami.

As someone who was watching the series hoping that Boston would advance because I like watching them play more, before the series even started my biggest fear was essentially what ended up happening.

Things like Kevin Garnett wouldn’t be able to be effective enough on both sides of the court, Ray Allen would be relegated to a jump shooter and not hitting in every game and Paul Pierce would have to carry too large of an offensive load. Even while watching the regular season meetings between the two teams you could kind of see this fate looming. While Boston seemed to always get a ton of good looks, it also seemed like they had to play pretty perfectly to get those looks and it’d be harder in the playoffs.

A big reason why Miami won the series was youth and talent overpowering Boston. They have their best three guys in their prime. It sounds simple but it really allows for them to play more minutes and play them more effectively. When Doc Rivers was forced to bring back Garnett early in the fourth quarter for Game 4, Boston was doomed and Garnett ran out of gas as the game eventually went into overtime.
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