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Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 at 8:30 am  |  113 responses

Post Up: No Days Off

With Kobe, Superman and the Spurs’ Big Three on ice, reserves and rookies own the night.

by Abe Schwadron | @abe_squad

Ten games to get to, so no time for small talk. Let’s go!

Wizards 113, Bobcats 85

I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed (for obvious reasons) or proud (for having the courage) to have actually watched portions of this epic battle of the NBA’s two worst records. But hey, at least my team came out on top, leading from start to finish behind 20 points from Jordan Crawford, the best of 7 Wiz who finished in double figures. Halfway through the fourth quarter, John Wall still had more assists than the entire Bobcats team—Charlotte finished with 16, Wall 12. Ping-pong balls, y’all.

Magic 119, Pistons 89

Superman sat down on Monday night, donning a more Clark Kent-ish look on the end of the bench while resting a bad back, but even without Dwight Howard, Orlando had no problems dispatching of Detroit. Glen Davis started in Howard’s place at center (for real, he did) and dropped a 16-point, 16-board, 5-dime game on the Pistons. The Magic spread the floor and shot the ball lights out—they hit 15 threes and were 53 percent from the field for the game. Jason Richardson scored 22 (6 threes himself) to lead all scorers, and all five Orlando starters put up double figure scoring nights. And since I’m a noted Greg Monroe supporter, I’ll note for you here that he shot the ball only 6 times, scored 9 points and hauled in 5 rebounds in just 23 minutes of action.

Pacers 103, Raptors 98

George Hill started at point guard in place of an injured Darren Collison and sparked Indiana’s offense with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and not a single turnover, as the Pacers beat Toronto at home despite a late scare from the Raptors. Indy led by 13 after former Raptor Leandro Barbosa drained a three near the end of the third quarter, but Toronto came back to within 2 midway through the fourth behind an 18-point night from Linas Kleiza (who shot just 3-10 from the field but 10-10 from the free throw line). Barbosa, though, drilled another 3-pointer to give the Pacers an 8-point advantage with just over 2 minutes to go, and that was all she wrote.  The Pacers completed the season sweep of the Raps—who played without Andrea Bargnani, whose calf has flared up again.

Thunder 109, Bucks 89

Spoiler alert: with the Spurs L last night, the Thunder are back on top in the Western Conference standings, after pummeling the Bucks behind 26 points and 7 boards courtesy of Russell Westbrook. Oklahoma City didn’t waste any time running out to a 35-18 lead over Milwaukee after one quarter, and the Thunder kept the pressure on with 20 fast break points on the night (to just 6 for the Bucks). Apparently, the home team didn’t like that—this game got chippy in a hurry, as 7 techs were called. Kevin Durant’s shot was off (5-14, 19 points) so he decided to play the role of facilitator, handing out 8 assists to help OKC stop a 3-game slide. Milwaukee, meanwhile, had its 4-game winning streak snapped, and the Bucks are now 9-25 against teams with a .500 or better record.

Grizzlies 94, Clippers 85

Make it 3 in a row for the Grizzlies, who avoided a season sweep at the hands of the Clippers behind a balanced scoring attack and a big night on the boards. Six Memphis players scored in double figures, led by Marc Gasol’s 18 points (plus 8 rebounds and 7 assists) and Rudy Gay’s 16 points—including the game-sealing dunk off a backdoor cut with under a minute to play. Even without Tony Allen in uniform due to his “facial lacerations” (an injury only Gucci could suffer, considering how badass it sounds), the Grizz played tough as nails, outrebounding Lob City 48 to 36 and coming up with big defensive stops down the stretch. The Clips got basically nothing out of their bench, starting with Nick Young’s zero points on 0-5 shooting. Chris Paul (21 points, 6 dimes) and Blake Griffin (19 points, 6 boards) kept LAC in it until the last minute, but the Grizz gritted it out to improve to 33-23, only a hair back of Lob City’s 34-23 mark.

Lakers 93, Hornets 91

With Kobe Bryant sidelined for a second straight game with a left shin injury, Pau Gasol knew he needed to step up. And step up he did, delivering 25 points and 9 rebounds to lead Los Angeles to a comeback win over the Hornets. Gasol drained a long jumper at the buzzer to give the Lakers a 1-point lead at halftime, then led a late defensive stand to help L.A. overcome a 9-point deficit in the fourth. Andrew Bynum, Steve Blake and Metta World Peace all hit big shots in the final 3 minutes of the game before Ramon Sessions delivered the back-breaker with under 30 seconds left on a high-arcing three-pointer to give the Lakers a 6-point lead—enough to get past the horrible Hornets, who were led in scoring by 20 apiece from Marco Belinelli and Carl Landry in Eric Gordon’s absence (back injury).

Suns 114, Timberwolves 90

It’s hard to call 25 and 10 a “bad night,” but that’s exactly what it was for Kevin Love, who shot just 1-6 from 3-point range and 7-19 from the floor overall. Suns rookie Markieff Morris kept up with KLove all night, leading Phoenix with 21 points (9-15 shooting) and 6 rebounds. Morris led a mind-boggling 66-point effort from the Suns’ bench, which bested the Wolves’ reserves (27 points) and boosted PHX to another step towards the Playoffs. In truth, though, you only have to look so far as the shooting percentages in this game to see why the Suns so thoroughly dominated: Phoenix shot 57 percent from the field, while Minnesota went brick city at 39 percent. Steve Nash got to rest so much that Sebastian Telfair matched his 14 points on the night. Phoenix is now a season-best 3 games over .500 at 30-27.

Nuggets 123, Warriors 84

In the normal course of my nightly NBA-watching, I try to at least peek at every game for a few minutes. But when I stumbled on Nuggets-Warriors near the end of the third quarter and saw the score was 90-55, I thought something was wrong with my television set—or someone had put something in my drink. But nope, the Nuggs really laid the smackdown on the Dubs last night, led by everyone’s favorite rookie, Kenneth Faried, who was not only his normal electrifying self in the dunk and swat departments, but actually put up career-highs in points (27) and rebounds (17). Oh yeah, and he did all that in just 24 minutes. Kid’s legit. The Warriors? Not so much. Golden State shot 37 percent, Klay Thompson had the “best night” of the team’s starters with 17 points on 5-13 shooting, and how about this stat: the Warriors managed just 18 points in the paint, to a whopping 70 for Denver.

Jazz 91, Spurs 84

What is it with Gregg Popovich and 11-game winning streaks? Pop decided yet again to sit his “Big Three” after rattling off 11 in a row. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili had the night off—in fact, they didn’t even travel with the team to Utah. The Jazz starters were fine with that, taking advantage of the lack of star power by grabbing a much-needed win. Devin Harris finished with a game-high 25 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, including a pair of massive 3-pointers in the final 4 minutes of the game to put Utah in control, while Paul Millsap (18×10) and Al Jefferson (12×10) added double-doubles to help out. Harris had 11 in the fourth quarter, tearing up the Spurs’ reserve point guards and finding teammates left and right. The short-handed Spurs got 14 points apiece from Gary Neal and Tiago Splitter, but DeJuan Blair (13 points) was the only starter in double figures.

Rockets 94, Trail Blazers 89

Houston completed a 4-0 road trip by holding the Blazers to 40 percent shooting and riding 22 points from Goran Dragic, who is averaging 21 and 8 assists over the last week. LaMarcus Aldridge (20 points) kept Portland close by hitting a 3-pointer with 9 seconds left to cut the Rockets’ lead to 92-87, but it was simply too little too late for PDX. Jamal Crawford stepped into the starting lineup for Nicolas Batum (knee tendinitis) and scored 18 points, but Houston’s 1-2 punch of Kyle Lowry (13 points) and Chas Budinger (15) provided enough punch off the bench to top the Blazers. And peep this stat from the AP recap: “The Rockets are 18-0 this season when they keep an opponent under 90 points.”

Line of the Night: Kenneth Faried’s 27 and 17 take the cake, with honorable mention to Big Baby’s 16-16-5 line in DH’s absence.

Moment of the Night: Paul Millsap helps end the Spurs’ 11-game win streak.

Dunks of the Night: Two rookies rock the rim—first Jan Vesely on the ‘Cats, then the Manimal over the Dubs.

Tonight: I’ll be in Newark for Sixers-Nets, part of a six-pack on Tuesday highlighted by Celtics-Heat and Bulls-Knicks, both on ESPN.

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  • Just Sayin

    27 and 17 in only 24 minutes! The kid is more than legit.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Kobe for MVP, when your team loses 1st game you sit and barely beats a New Orleans team with Carl Landry and Eric Gordon out after Stern great trade. People need to realize how important you are to your teams success as a current three seed. Lakers without Kobe are out of playoffs barely a playoff team. If Lebron gets votes for record of 10-1 without Wade, which is crap, Then Kobe is MVP, look at what Kobe has overcome, injuries, lost of center for games, old point guard and new crappy defensive coach. BOOK IT!!!

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Houston dominated that game against Portland. Crawford was terrible almost the entire game, and Wes Matthews thought that any time he caught the ball, shooting it was against his religion.
    Scola was shocking offensively, couldn’t hit any jumpers, but had excellent offensive spacing and passing though, letting the other Rockets attack the basket at will.
    Goran Dragic is going to get PAID this off-season, it’s a shame Houston won’t be able to keep him. He’s great.
    Lowry looks healthy, not super-aggressive, but dominated Crawford all game when on the ball. Super driving lay-up he hit at one point too.
    Marcus Camby probably leads the League in 3pt% for a centre. He shoots an absurdly high %, always 1/1 or 1/2 whenever he jacks one up. lol.
    Basically, Houston was on the verge of blowing out Portland by 20+, but couldn’t hit shots in the late 3rd/whole 4th Q. The game wasn’t close, don’t let the score deceive you.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    Wouldn’t the ROY be more exciting if Faried had started from the beginning?
    I had him as ROY.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Early morning tomfoolery begins.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Why can’t Houston keep Dragic, Hursty? He deserves to start elsewhere but if Houston is willing to pay him… He and Lowry are a phenomenal 1-2 punch at point guard.

  • Loaf

    The Seed = Joke of the slam boards, your views and opinions are worthless BOOK IT

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Can’t afford to keep him.
    So many guys still on rookie/low contracts.

  • Loaf

    Dragic has been BALLIN, great player

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    As a Hawks fan, watching Kenneth Faried makes me sick to my stomach, knowing that the Hawks could have had him if not for the Kirk Hinrich trade.

  • Heals

    @Loaf, it’s gotta be weird to “jock” another human being like that. Anyway I appreciate what MontyWilliams has done with hos injury depleted squad, BUT his team rountinely plays atrocious down the stretch. They give-up 4th quarter leads like they’re going out of style…

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    Faried and Parsons are the two rookies I’m really excited about. Both their games are based on hard work/hustle unlike soon-to-be ROY Kyrie Irving who’s just very talented to begin with, not saying he doesn’t work hard (every NBA player does to a certain degree, I assume) I just mean when they play they don’t fill up the box score every game (although Manimal certainly has done that the last couple of games)but they live of making the hustle plays, rebounds, defense, energy, doing the ‘dirty work’ etc and they’re already very imporant to both of their teams and I’m looking forward to watching what could be their first experience of playoff basketball this season

  • Heals

    I don’t care about any other team’s circumstances, Pop is my COY. There’s 4 guys that you can’t go wrong with, but he is killing it with the style points. 11 games in a row, so what…

  • fruizm

    I dont care if hes a rookie…Faried is now my favorite player!

  • LA Huey

    Pop or Thibs for COY. Would not have believed the Bulls could maintain an elite level record with Rose sidelined for so many games. Also, hard to believe Pop managed to guide his team to one of the top seeds in the L in this compressed season with the roster he has.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    POP has to be COY. also I have no idea why the lakers struggled to beat the hornets last night. and I wish I had watched more of MANIMAL to begin with.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    After last season, Pop is making sure the Spurs don’t peak too early. Its a shame how the blazers have fell, Would of been fun to see them with Roy and Aldrige duke it out with the thunder for west supremacy for several seasons.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    Carl Landry played last night.
    If your team losing when you’re out is the criteria than Ricky Rubio should be MVP. His team sucks now that he’s gone, right?

  • LA Huey

    “You can’t be MVP if you have a teammate who is arguably the best at his position.”

  • LA Huey

    “You can’t be MVP if you people grumbled about how you arrived to your team”

  • bike

    Wall’s potential is crazy. And co-sign loaf.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    @Allenp
    Steve Nash got a MVP for this, remember when Amare was hurt. Lakers suck without Kobe and to state Ricky Rubio name is dumb, because they were not a playoff team with him. Kobe has done more with an overrated center, soft power forward, and no bench.
    @Loaf
    Sorry you don’t like the Lakers, must be a Clipper fan and thanks for the love, because my comment hit a nerve.
    @Bike
    Wall potential is not crazy, its sad, dude should have stayed in college, worked on his game. NBA is not street-ball, all these cats on Slam, saying he will kill in NBA this year, with his lockout playing success. Wall is raw talent with no skill to me. Wall was overrated in college and he was picked 12 in the rookie/sophomore game. Irving is WAY better than wall and Irving on Cavs have worst players to play with.
    BOOK IT!!

  • http://www.michaeljordansworld.com/statistics/triple_doubles.htm nbk

    Boiler Plate, Can of Fish, Catalog It.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    The Lakers won. You didn’t even consider that maybe the Lakers took the Hornets lightly because the Hornets are a crap team. That didn’t even cross your mind, right? After all, to win the game, the Lakers just randomly reeled off 10 straight points while holding the Hornets to none. And the Lakers won despite allowing damn near a career high from Grevis Vasquez and allowing Bellinelli to go off as well. A clear sign that they were weren’t giving maximum effort against an inferior team.
    Nevermind, what am I doing. Carry on with whatever argument you would like to make about Kobe and life. Forgot myself there for a second.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    I’m gonna quote The Fury from two days ago:
    ——
    “Shows to prove that Kevin Love is not a top 3 PF in this league. He definitely gives you great numbers but that is all. He doesn’t dominate, hence the Wolves are now losing to weaker teams. Guess Rubio is really the answer to this team.”
    ——
    Love had 25-13 but even the announcers continuously lamented the fact that he wasn’t doing anything to really help the team. And he didn’t. Looking at the box scores don’t tell the whole picture and I really think Love is getting close to becoming the most overrated player in the game.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    uh oh.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The Wolves have now lost 7 straight games with the “best” PF in the NBA. Ricky Rubio is more valuable to that team than Love is.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Can’t believe I’m saying this (no offense), but cosign JT.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Co-Sign JT

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lakeshow, how can you be cosigning JTaylor? Your opinion of Kevin Love changed in less than a week?

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Yea gotta agree with JTaylor on this. I was big on Love because of the way he rebounds. Always been a fan of that aspect of the game but this guy’s talent does not translate to the team being better. I think Rubio is more valuable to the team because he’s unselfish and get’s everyone going. Ridnour is more of a scoring PG. I still think the top 5 PF are Dirk, Bosh, Z Bo, Pau and Love. Side note I know KG plays the center position a lot now but when they guy is locked in defensively and is aggressive on offense he is still a top 5 PF.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Someone has to grab boards and score buckets. Basically K-Love gives the Wolves the bare minimum for them to be a .500ish team as apposed to competing with the Bobcats and Wizards for worse record in the L. LeBron might be the only player in the L that could make the Wolves playoff contenders sans Rubio. Rubio is just as valuable as K-Love is to this team. He runs the team. He sets up the players, he keeps the tempo. All things your PG should do and your PF can’t do. Until Kevin has talent around all he will be is a ‘big numbers’ guy. If you see him as not being a winner because his team is awful, that’s fine. See what you want, but it’s clear that this guy is a winner. He doesn’t give up, he out hustles nearly everyone, he is clutch and he isn’t afraid of anyone or any moment. Still a top 3 PF unless your blind or challenged.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    If he’s a top 3 PF then there is no way he is less valuable then Rubio. You can’t say if they had Rubio and not Love they would be a better team…if you think Love is that good. (I don’t think Rubio is more important than Love to the Wolves, at all.)

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Can’t believe I’m saying this (no offense), but cosign nbk, your correct.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Umm, yeah, Rubio can be (and is) more (just as) valuable to the team while K-Love is the better player. Pretty simple. Even D-Wade has a more refined skill set, and is better at certain things over Bron, and could be the post season MVP for the Heat, but LBJ is the better player. Pretty simple to figure out really.
    Rubio makes the Wolves go, while K-Love makes the Wolves float. They are both equally valuable really, but they aren’t going anywhere with out each other.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    I’ll go out on a limb, the Wolves are 4-13 without Rubio. They’d be much better than that with Love out instead of Rubio.

  • LA Huey

    I think they’re equally valuable to the Wolves. Can’t see Rubio leading a Love-less Wolves squad to .500 either.

  • http://www.yahoo.com The Fury

    …or blame it to the cover jinx..lol

  • http://www.slamonline.com Slick Ric

    I don’t co-sign jtaylor, He still produces more than any other pf on the court. His team isnt winning right now but they took a step forward this season because of rubio and Love’s emergence as the best pf. show me a pf that produces more than him right now and is single handily keeping his team afloat and in the playoffs. Lamarcus was suppose to be better than Kevin but his teams sucks with better talent.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    You take Kevin Love off the Wolves they have no 1st option. They have nothing for Defenses to even care about. Who would replace the 26PPG and 13RPG you get from Love without him? Man I had to argue with you people how you overrate Love, now just a week later, he has less of a positive effect on the Wolves then Rubio? You realize Rubio shoots 36% right? I’m not at all saying Rubio doesn’t make the team considerably better, but he is not more important than Love. You can take those 8APG Rubio averaged and take off a minimum of 2 without Love. So you have a PG without a go-to scorer, who turns the ball over half as much as he gets assists, and you think the team would do better then they are now? Like you people do realize they are playing without a PG right now all together right? Did any of you actually watch the game last night? JJ Barea is running the Point for them, WITH NO BACK-UP. That dude isn’t a PG to begin with he’s just the size of one, Luke Ridnour got hurt last week, in the game against Sacramento, they haven’t had him since. The team is worse off without Love than Rubio, it’s absurd to argue otherwise.
    .
    And Dwyane Wade can be the Heats MVP in a playoff series only when LeBron isn’t playing well, thus making him a worse player during said timeframe. Duh

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iF30WneDtQc Datkid

    Big men are generally more valuable than guards. and Rubio is nice and all. but a big men with Love’s skill set that can spread the floor like that? Love has to be more valuable.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, how are they “equally” valuable when the wolves were above .500 with Rubio and are 8gms under .500 ever since he went down. Doesn’t sound like “equally” valuable to me. KLove puts up great numbers but he doesn’t affect the outcome of a game like cats who put up comparable numbers did (Moses, Barkley and Dirk).

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    They were around .500 with Rubio AND Love. AND. AND. AND. Not instead of.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    Love is doing the same things he always did. Which includes giving up career nights to Jason Smith on defense. Dude is the best at his position because everyone else at his position is equally or more flawed.
    It is was it is. NBK can’t make a serious argument that Aldridge, or Dirk are doing more to make their team’s winner than Love.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I can make the argument about Dirk. Not Aldridge. Not this year at least.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    And that wasn’t to take a shot at NBK. I’m just saying that the only reason people have other players higher than Love is because they prefer their games. It’s not really objective. Yeah, he’s shooting 45 percent. And?
    He gets his buckets, he gets his boards, he doesn’t play defense. No on else at the power forward position truly deserves to be over him right now based on how they are playing.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    *For the record, my argument for Dirk would not be very strong. I am just saying I could make the argument.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    They aren’t a playoff team without Rubio. They aren’t a Playoff team with just K-Love. They are the worse team in the L without both of them. It’s pretty freaking obvious that they need each other in order to win(most players need another all star calibre player to get to the playoffs and to help showcase what they can do). Love does more from a production stand point, Rubio does more from a tempo and style of play stand point. Both of equal importance when it comes to winning. You all can argue who is “more” valuable if you want. All I know is the Wolves stink without both of them in the lineup.
    All that said and Love is still obviously a top 3 PF.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Well….if you say it like that. All that matters is that the Wolves have fallen apart without Rubio, leading me to conclude that he’s more valuable to that team’s success than Love is. Remember, Love put up similar monster numbers (apart from a spike in scoring) last season and the wolves stunk.
    I still think Gasol, Dirk and ZBo (when healthy) are better players but Love is having by far the best season at his position.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    JTaylor
    What you’re using is horrible logic.
    Unless Love gets hurt with Rubio healthy and the Wolves dominate, then we have no idea who is more important to the team.
    All you can say for certain is that the Wolves have struggled since Rubio got hurt. That doesn’t reflect on whether Rubio is more important than Love. It’s just bad logic man.
    You don’t remember these sort of questions from standardized tests? Oh wait, didn’t you tell me you went to Warren Easton? My bad, I get it now.
    Roneagle for life.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Timberwolves are 9PPG better with Love on the Court.
    .
    The Timbewolves are 4PPG better with Rubio on the Court.
    .
    These stats represent how the team performed while the player was on the floor.
    The Net48 number shows the average +/- net points over a full game.
    .
    Kevin Love =
    (Net Pts +83) (Estimated W/L of 25 – 22)
    .
    Ricky Rubio
    (Net Pts +51) (Estimated W/L of 23 – 18)
    .
    Only one of those guys has played without the other. That should make it pretty clear who is more important.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Your not smart then. That’s like saying the economy is all Obama’s fault. He’s the current president right? It’s his fault then. No. It doesn’t work that way. This isn’t 1+1=2.
    Rubio is not the MVP of the Wolves. Kevin is. Why? Because he has been on the team putting up 20+ and 13+ for 2 years now. Rubio showed us glimpses of what he could bring to the table, but just that. GLIMPSES. He has not show sustained All Star ability or shown being able to carry a team on his back. Both of which Love has done. Put Dirk, Z-Bo, LA, Gasol, whoever, in the exact same position as Love and you will see similar results W/L wise, while still not seeing the rebounding numbers and 3′s Love gives you. It’s all on you fellas if you choose to except Love for what he is. A current top 3 PF looking to turn himself into the unquestioned top dog, at the PF position down the road.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ?

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    AllenP, you’re funny cat. I went to eleanor mcmain, thank you very much.
    I know it’s a terrible anology but it’s the truth. The wolves sucked last season with Love, they began to play close to .500 ball with the addition of Rubio and now they are back to sucking with guess who? KLove.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    At Taylor. Sorry didn’t meant to come at any bro’s.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Taylor you are still ignoring how much worse they would be without Love. If you replaced Kevin Love with Ricky Rubio that team would get worse. Plain and Simple.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Taylor….. Do you know who is on the Wolves? Is John Wall garbage? What about Kemba Walker? Deron Williams? I mean you need to stop expecting Love to drag this crap team to the promise land. That’s an unwarranted high expectation. He’s good, but not Jesus Christ. The Wolves are an atrocious team. Terrible. As bad as anyone in the L without their two guys. No man(outside of LBJ) could take this team to the playoffs with anything higher than an 8th seed.
    BTW, I have never argued, and will never argue, that K-Love is a MVP candidate till his team is over .600.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    JTaylor
    That’s bad logic again homie.
    They played horrible with Kurt Rambis as the coach. Rick Adelman is now the coach, a clear upgrade. They played horrible with Ridnour, Bassy and Jonny Flyn splitting time. Rubio is an upgrade there as well.
    Darko played major minutes last year. The offense ran through Beasley.
    It was just a totally different situation. Rubio was a big deal for what they were trying to do. He isn’t better than Love, and on the whole he isn’t more valuable. But he’s very, very important.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Rubio and Love both need each other to get W’s. As far as “the best PF in the league” comparisons, well, it’s Dirk’s title until Love has played one Playoff game.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Fair enough but any of y’all care to explain to me why the Wolves went from playing .500 ball to being 8gms under .500 ever since Rubio went down? I’m just saying, if the guy (Love) is supposed to be the best PF, shouldn’t he have at least kept the Wolves within striking distance of the playoffs?
    nbk, good point but is anyone on here hyping Rubio up to be the best player at his position? NO, then that’s why I’m holding Love to such a high standard. I’m not asking him to do much expect to make the wolves a competitive team and at this moment and ever since he became a full-fledged starter, they are one of the worst teams in the NBA.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Taylor, is Rubio averaging 20 points and 10 plus assists? I’m struggling to figure out why your struggling with this concept. Wolves are a competitive team. They are on a bad losing streak right now. This is a team that showed themselves to be very competitive with a solid PG. They have no current PG. It would be surprising and amazing if they were winning games. Not the other way around.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Aw, you can come up with statistics to prove anything, nbk. Forty percent of all people know that.
    And are we really bringing up education? That seems low, even for an Internet comment section.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    hey you are preaching to the choir about Love being overrated. I’ve been saying for weeks he has a much bigger effect on the box score then the W/L column. I am just saying, even with that being said, Love is still a bigger piece of that puzzle then anyone else on the Wolves. But if you took say, a real best at their position player, (LBJ, Wade/Bryant, CP, Dwight, Dirk) that team would be more competitive. The way they play would change, but they would be a better team altogether. Not saying all of those guys would make them a playoff team, but they would improve. The Timberwolves lose a lot of games because their offense is reliant on a rhythm, and their best player just flat out doesn’t give a sh*t about team defense. Love’s abilities as a “leader” are a weak point in his game, that will only improve with time. But he’s still the best this current Timberwolves team has in just about every department. The only argument I see for Rubio is that he makes his teammates play harder and he is a much much better defender than anyone else on the roster, but even then, he doesn’t give what Love does.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    ahh Caboose, I can’t give a statistic to prove i’m more right than anyone else though…..and that stat would be the most useful in every argument. Help?

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Haha Simpsons quote. The stat I’d use would be Wolves defensive efficiency with/without Rubio. I think that’s the difference.

  • Mike From Spain

    i am one of the biggest rubio fans in here. but the thing is, when rubio is out, people like wes johnson, malcolm lee, barea and wayne ellington get minutes. if you replace rubio with wes johnson, you get such abysmal production that it is like negating not only rubio, but also another average starter. kevin love is a bit tired of contributing so much and having the rest of the team suck so bad. so yes, in a way rubio is very valuable to this wolves squad, because of his contribution and also because he takes minutes away from terrible players. i am not so sure that kevin love is overrated

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    5Pts? The Wolves are 9 points better with Love. 10pts better on offense, 1 pt worse on defense (which is a reflection of how truly terrible the whole team is defensively, if taking Love out only makes you 1 pt worse). If the wolves were full of defensive stoppers who could all shoot & rebound then there would be a legitimate argument to be made for Rubio being more important than Love. But they aren’t, without Love they don’t have many shooters or guys that can rebound. He =’s like 4 normal guys of that nature by himself.

  • Mike From Spain

    it is also rubio’s perimeter and help defense and ability to act as a coach on the court that set him apart from other very valuable PGs. Rubio is very valuable to a young team because od his leadership, his covering of defensive errors, and his drive to win. If he could hit 45% from the field consistently too, he’d be a top 5 PG in the league.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, 3-4 straight losses is a “bad” losing streak, 7 straight losses means that team is terrible. What happened to expecting more from the League’s top players? When did it become acceptable just to put up great numbers on a bad team and recieve all the praise in the world while doing so? Guys like Bosh, ZBo and most recently, MEllis used to get critcized for being guys that put up “numbers on bad teams” but it seems like Love is the only one immune from that criticism.

  • Mike From Spain

    you also have to factor in pekovic. He got injured a few games after rubio and has been out for a while. pek is their best low-post scorer and rebounds offensively at a good rate. so the wolves were without rubio and pek for a few games and pek is not yet 100%. pek played most if not all rubio’s games.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    Love is the best PF in the league but this year #2 isn’t Aldridge or Griffin or whoever. It’s Josh Smith.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    JTaylor and I are from the same city.
    And the two schools I mentioned have something of a rivalry. That’s why I mentioned education.
    I didn’t realize he went McMain there is no real rivalry there.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    And why is everybody giving Dirk a pass? His team is the seventh seed despite being infinitely more talented than the Wolves.
    And he’s played like crap most of the year. His scoring is down, his rebounds are down and his shooting percentage is down. There is very little he does better than Love according to the numbers this year. Yes, he has a playoff resume, but that was last year. This is a brand new season.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Agreed that 7 straight is horrible. It doesn’t mean every player on that team is horrible. M. Ellis, Chris Bosh, and Z-Bo didn’t put up the numbers Love does. That’s where the difference is. Love doesn’t put up nice stats. He puts up out of this world, phenomenal stats. Bosh was excused from winning allot because his team stunk. M Ellis always got that benefit of the doubt from me. Z-Bo, we all knew just needed to be on a good team. Love just needs to be on a good team also. He can’t drag teams to winning levels, but he can make a decent team into a winner. If you don’t like Love that is cool, you don’t have to. I like Z-Bo. I like Ellis. I…. don’t like Bosh lol. That’s besides the point though.
    -What, I think J-Smooth is awesome, but it’s hard to put him that high. He is probably the most flawed “superstar” PF. No jump shot. No offensive moves outside the post. Doesn’t use his brain every night. With all that said he too can be the best PF in the L on any given night.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Why is Dallas so talented? They are old. They have no depth. They have no Center. That team is not very good outside of Dirk and Rick Carsisle. Especially with Jason Terry unhappy.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Are we talking about who’s the better player at the 4 spot or who’s having the best season? I think Dirk is still a better player than Love but Love is clearly having (by a wide margin) the better season. The same goes for Gasol/Love and ZBo/Love. Love has been the best PF this season (number wise) but he’s not the best player at the 4.

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Welp. Rose hurt again.
    He is this season’s Carlos Boozer. X__________X

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Dallas sans Dirk is infinitely better than the Wolves sans Love. By a huge margin. Dallas squeaking in the playoffs should be just as disappointing as a the Wolves not making the playoffs.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Why? What does Dallas have that makes you say that?

  • LA Huey

    Yeah, Dirk is getting a HUGE pass this season. It’s interesting what a single, magical postseason run does for people’s perspective.

  • LA Huey

    I hear you, Enigmatic.
    I dislike the Bulls and Knicks but was really looking forward to tonight’s game. I think I’ll turn off the TV after the Cs and Heat finish.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Like y’all noticed Dirk is the only offensive option on Dallas shooting over 45% right? And Jason Terry is the only other member of the team scoring more than 11PPG? When Shawn Marion is your 3rd most productive offensive player at this point in his career, your team is not going to be very good. When Jason Kidd is your second best overall defender at this point in his career your team is not going to be very good. When Brandan Wright is your second most efficient player your team is not going to be very good. Dallas sucks, without Dirk that team would be a doormat. Even with him playing subpar this year, they are that much better because of him (well him and the system Carslisle has around him)

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    I really hate how Tom Thibodeau gets all the credit for Boston’s defense even though he’s gone from the team, but no one gives Doc credit for molding Thibodeau or helping him install a decent offense.
    It’s shady.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    I hope Rose plays but if he doesn’t I’m looking forward to the Deng/Melo matchup. One of the best offensive players going up against one of the best perimeter defenders.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Rodrigue Beaubois > Every guard on the Wolves
    Vince Carter > Every other guard on the Wolves
    Brendan Haywood = Pekovich
    Jason Kidd > Every guard on the Wolves
    Shawn Marion > Wes Johnson
    Beasley hasn’t played enough this year to try and decide how good he is compared to Dallas’s SF spot.
    Dirk > Every Player on the Wolves. K-Love can now make the argument, but Dirk is better imo.
    Jason Terry > Every player on the Wolves
    Delonte West > Every guard on the Wolves
    -Allen it’s because Thibs is white. Doc is black. Duhhhh

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    Who was the second offensive option last year?
    The team had the same sort of scoring breakdown. Last year they just had a better defense and Dirk played much better.
    Keep it real.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    I can’t believe you said Pekovic is equal to Haywood.
    You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    If you put Love on the Mavericks, are they a playoff team? If you put Dirk on the Wolves, are they a .500 team?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Lakeshow, not once did I say they were as bad or worse than the Timberwolves. You did all of that for nothing. And some of it is just flat out wrong anyway.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Haywood = Pekovic? On what planet?
    So you think at this point in their careers VC, JKidd, DWest are better than Rubio?

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Allen, they had an infinitely better defense last year. And yes their offense had a similar breakdown from a production standpoint, but they had balance. They had Tyson Chandler, which made their current Big Men role playing bit minute back ups….like they should be. Terry was actually a good player, this year not at all. Barea supplied them with the ability to get in the paint and make good decisions after that happens while Roddy B is able to get in the paint and miss a shot or turn it over. Kidd was able to slide over on defense, while this year he has routinely been stuck guarding PG’s as often as anything else (yet he’s still been their second or third – depending on your opinion of Ian Mahinmi – defensive player). THe team is considerably worse this year. Considerably. — And Dirk is also worse, but he is still a very very good player who is the main reason the team is still even in the playoff hunt. without him, they wouldn’t be anywhere close.

  • http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/shotchart?gameId=320404014 Allenp

    I think that’s a fair assessment. But I also think it’s fair to say that Dirk decided to take a year off to bask in his championship, had a crappy year (by his standards) and the team followed suit.
    Both are true.

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    This board is so much more entertaining to read when certain superteams don’t play.

  • http://slamonline.com 1982

    And I agree with anybody who gives props to Pekovic.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    My thing is, Cuban gave up on this year, in the hopes to get Deron Williams (despite what he says, “i took on Odom’s contract how can i not be trying for this season” – even though his contract was up after this year, after Dallas refuses his team option), you don’t think Dirk knows that? That whole team is 35 years old, they know when their management is making a play at winning and when it is making a play at the future, this year Dallas is obviously gearing up for the future, which I completely agree with and understand. It’s fair to expect them to not have much success given that understanding.

  • http://Roosterteeth.com Caboose

    Oh, I forgot to say, my bad Allen on the education. And Pekovic is very underrated.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    That Avery Bradley defensive conversation from yesterday…..the answer is on TrueHoop.

  • LA Huey

    What’s with this line of thinking I’ve seen more than once that OKC has Memphis’ number? They had one series between them that went 7 games, how does that say the Thunder are a bad matchup for the Grizzlies?

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    @Allen – Thibs coached the Knicks and Rockets into a great defensive teams and brought that same mentality to the Celtics and Bulls; so a pattern is established there. Doc never had standout defensive teams before Thibs became his assistant in Boston. Plus the players themselves credit Thibs with as much. So there is some pretty good evidence that its Thibs and mostly Thibs that’s responsible for the defensive mentality. On the flip side, Thibs was an assistant coach for 20 years before he coached under Doc. And he was an assistant under some great coaches like Jeff Van Gundy, John Lucas, and Jerry Tarkanian. I think he coached under Van Gundy for like a total of 10 years. He coached under Doc for 3 years. So you’re angry that Doc and his 3 years of influence don’t get most of the credit for Thib’s offensive schemes? You’re ok with completely ignoring the other 20 years of influence he brought to the Bulls? If anything, Van Gundy should be getting more credit, not Doc. You hate that Doc doesn’t get the credit for other reasons…and we’ve argued about those reasons on here too many times for me to do it again.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Cosign Huey
    That series could have easily gone the other way. A Grizz squad with a healthy Z Bo…any team should be concerned facing them in the playoffs.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Diesel: Correct answer, and i’m sure what you meant to say, is Thibs is white.
    -Taylor, I wasn’t really counting Rubio just because he only played half the season and yeah those veterans are probably better at NBA ball, this year, than Rubio.
    On the other hand I just flat out lied about Haywood being = to Pek. Although Haywood was better than Pek just last year. Pek just has started to blossom. It’s hard to say what kind of player he may become.

  • LA Huey

    Yeah, and with Rudy Gay in the fold, Durant would actually have to put some energy into defense.
    lol, Diesel with the very thorough response nobody expected.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/tray24 T-Ray

    Totally forgot he was injured. For the Thunders sake they better not get Memphis.

  • Mike From Spain

    pek has the potential to go 20-10 on 65% shooting every night, and most of his rebounds are offensive (kind of crazy, that). he shoots high percentages because he can get position with that superhuman strength he’s got. if you see his shot charts, he hardly ever takes a shot furthr than 5 feet from the basket. otoh he’s not too athletic, he’s not a great shot blocker, he’s not very long.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    For everyones sake they better not get Memphis. None the less, every team can beat the Grizz. OKC, Mavs, Spurs, Lakers, IMO will beat the Grizzlies if they go up against them. They are still scary, but they are scary because you won’t breeze past them, not because they are a juggernaut defensively or offensively.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com/basketball/lebron-james-played-superb-defense-on-derrick-rose/70485 nbk

    The Grizzlies are bad on the road. This can’t be stated enough.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    He won’t though Mike. I know he technically ‘could.’ What i’m hoping for, for the wolves sake, is that he turns himself into a decent defender. Not shot blocker, but shot alter-er, and a big rebound guy so that Love can stop focusing on getting every board. He will give you 10-15 points on 58+% shooting. Which is nice.

  • BuzzerBeater

    @nbk Grizz are getting better on the road though, leading MIA and OKC from wire to wire. Their schedule gets easier towards the end of regular season, so look for them to overtake the no.4 seed from LAC and improve on that road record.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com/basketball/lebron-james-played-superb-defense-on-derrick-rose/70485 nbk

    The point being, every series they play in the playoffs will be on the road.

  • BuzzerBeater

    Point taken – not the first round though, if they do get that no.4 which is quite likely.

  • http://larrybrownsports.com/basketball/lebron-james-played-superb-defense-on-derrick-rose/70485 nbk

    Right my bad, I forgot they are only like a game out.

  • Justin G.

    I don’t think Dirk is throwing in the year to “bask in his championship” (as Allen says) at all. The guy was simply worn down from a very tough championship season, to playing at the World’s instead of resting, to various ailments because of all this at the beginning of the season. Throw in the different players that came in the offseason and the compressed schedule and it’s not hard to see why Dirk is having an off year. cosign JTaylor@4:27 and others when they said KLove is having the best season but is not the best PF. There is a difference. I remember how much Bosh used to get criticized for putting up very good numbers but not being able to get the Raptors into the playoffs. Then he does get them into the playoffs only to get crushed by Orlando. Next was “Well, he could only get them into the first round”. And that Raptors team was horrible as well, even with Calderon having a very good year. I have Love as the 5th best overall PG but certainly is having the best season

  • jimmer

    Kevin Love is completely non-effective. The Suns best player averages 12 and 11, and his team is in the playoff race. Without him, they would vie with the Bobcats for the worst record in the league. The Wolves ‘best’ player averages 26 and 14, his team is not vying for the playoffs, and if he missed the whole season, and Rubio was healthy all year, I do not see the Wolves being as bad as the bobcats. 12 and 11. 26 and 14. The value obviously isn’t in the numbers.

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