Thursday, December 15, 2005
IN THE SIX
Days since I last posted, I am sure plenty of things have swam through my head. Here are a few of those things, in no particular order. Feel free to comment on any or all of them:
I have an awesome heart. I mean that literally. I recently had an EKG done, and my resting heart rate is 48bpm. That's just two off Lance Armstrong's pace. My heart is so damned strong, in fact, that it once was hanging out at a bar when these three guys started accosting a nice young lady. My heart picked two of them up by the collar and threw them at the third, all while telling the young lady it would be alright, and getting her phone number. My heart found a cure for cancer, and started the Paul Bunyan rumor. My heart could beat up Chuck Norris. There, I said it.
But really, it was such a good reading that the doctor had to call in a specialist, because she had never seen an EKG so far spaced out. One good healthy heart, that. But it meant something else was wrong with me. That something is asthema. Dear god I wish I was kidding. Asthema is for fat kids. But it turns out I have acute exercised induced asthema. That just means I will get winded sometimes for no reason (that I know of) while others I will be just fine. It also means that the few times in my life I have "overdone it" (which apparently doesn't include biking 100 miles) some muscles around my throat will constrict and I will need an inhaler. It explains some things from my past that were scary, but still totally sucks.
It occurs to me that at least three of the Timberwolves Loses are due to bad coaching, so far. I am not sure how many of these loses we can gift the guy: he IS new to head coaching, but has been an assistant for over 20 years. BUt when your team does not score for 8 minutes, and still only loses in overtime, you as a coach did not put them in a position to win. Five loses by five or fewer points so far, all when the "no shot" package was in for extended minutes. If you bench your top THREE scorers, who is supposed to shoot? A rookie? A person who has been on more teams than he has years in the league? I just don't get it. We are still on top of the division, but we should be on top of the league, the way our guys have stepped it up. I am not hanging all our loses on him, just most of them.
While doing the dishes, I think I figured out why the second team isn't doing so well. This, at least, is better than pointing fingers wihtout explanation, so here goes: The Timberwolves run (most of the time) a motion offense. The ball carrier comes down while the right wing cross screens for the left, who usually goes baseline back out to the right. Then the big man screens off the double team, and either leaves the power forward or the SG who crossed open. IOn our case, that means MArco brings it up while trenton cross screens for Wally. Then Michael creens off KG. This means KG is isolated on the outside of the box (not where we want him, but where he is most comfortable) and Wally has been open for a long jumper. That works because KG will usually draw the d, and can then outlet to a wide open anyone. If he doesn't draw the defense, he is one on one with a (usually) slower big, and can get to the rack. Meanwhile, Wally has been on fiure as the second option, fi the post-entry pass cannot be made.
Now, when the second team comes in, the key three for that offense are out (Marco, Wally and Kevin) And sometimes even Kandi is out, as well. Without troy hudson in the line-up, that usually means Carter, McCants, Eddie, Madsen and trenton or anyone else on the floor (sometimes Casey leaves Marco in as the two). Now, Madsen cannot screen off as fast or as well as Kandi. He just can't. Meanwhile, McCants, who is playing Wally's spot, has yet to figure out NBA spacing, so he usually ends up far in the corner with no lane. He will learn that, he is a rookie, but for now he doesn't have it. EG cannot post up, and his jumper is flat, so he is at best a poor substitute for scoring over where KG stands. That means the play falls to shit. WE either end up with a bad drive from McCants or a flat shot from Eddie.
Truly, this isn't all their fault, though. Without a scoring option on the floor, it is hard enough. But running through an offense that doesn't allow for mistakes is murder for a second unit. They don't have anyone who can create (yet) so when the play breaksdown, and the second wave of screens ends up out of place, where are they? A bunch of half assed one on one players. You cannot win in the NBA that way. Coach Casey isn't really giving them the opportunity to succeed in that offense.
Well, MR. Snarty Pants, you are probably saying, do YOU have a better idea? You bet your sweet ass I do. I wish I could say "triangle" but that would require a shooter. No, the answer is the wheel offense. They have used it a bit before, albeit not this year (that I can recollect) so most the second squad already knows it. The screens don't have to be precise, and the defense, if not in zone (and I think most teams have lost the zone) won't be able to keep up. There is no cross screening, so no one has to be terribly fast. And someone ALWAYS ends up near the rim for a shot. Moreover, the D is spread, so the chance of EG or Madsen getting a second chance increases. It limits the liabilities on the court. Although, admittedly, that means it limits the rewards. You won't see a good long ball from this group anyway, but the screens are generally mroe inside, so no one would get a nice top screen for a three. The driving lanes are also usually crapmed, so that's out, too. But it does mean some scoring output, and someone to leak back when you miss. Limited liability. That's the best you can hope for when you second unit doesn't have ANY scoring threat.
We all know I don't talk with my mother. Most of us know why, too. But that sort of makes the holidays a sticky situation. My uncle Osi called to ask me, persoanlly, to go to christmas at my grandfather's house. First, that's wierd, because it used to be my grandmother's house, and she used to host these things. With her gone, it just seems sort of wrong. Then you add in that my Mother will be htere, and will make a big scene, again, without figuring out, or trying to make right, what is wrong, and ending with me getting blamed for her crying (instead of acting like a mother, I might add), and it just seems too awkward for me to be there. But when my uncle point blank requests it, what am I saying to him by not going? Jesus. Why can't family be easy.
How about those Vikings? We get our real test against some good defenses coming up. Three games against top ten ranked Ds. We will see what Brad Johnson is really made of, won't we. Beyond that, now that the Bears have lost, the first in eight games, I think we will be on top of the division by playoffs. That's a bit optomistic, but that BEar's offense has been exposed, and teams have been coming close to picking them apart. It finally happened last week, and the NFL has tape. Figure that one out. The last game of the season could very well set the stage.
It's official, I hate winter. We are planning on moving after the wedding. My hope is we can decide on someplace warm. Snow is rediculous. It has no real purpose, and it ISN'T cute. Anyone who has a romantic idea of snow hasn't had to shovel it all damned day in the below zero tundra, only to have more of the shit fall and someone complain that the walk was slippery.