Lakers have mixed reviews of Wolves' progress

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Artest on Wolves: "They should be doing better."
They are the grandchildren of our hardwood lore and the cruel step-fathers of out hoop present.  As for the basketball future?  Well, the modern version of our former Minneapolis Lakers has mixed impressions of what lies ahead for the Timberwolves.

Two-time defending NBA champ L.A. was in town Tuesday night, dispatching the T-Wolves for the 14th consecutive time after a competitive three quarters devolved into a 90-79 defeat for the local kids. The win was the 43rd on the season for the Lakers; the Wolves have 53 wins . . . since 2008. 

More than 17,000 were on hand to observe the loss.  A sound portion of those in attendance seemed to forget to applaud for the team still residing in Minnesota.

After the game, many of the Lakers took time to share impressions of whether the Wolves (14-47) have evidenced any progress since the teams last met way back on November the 19th.  That date served as the last game before Kevin Love's active, 47-game streak of consecutive double-doubles.  The All-Star forward extended the mark last night with a muted 13 points and 11 boards.

Coach Phil Jackson made what most believe to be his final appearance at Target Center; little Zen reflection will be spent on the moment, although Jackson offered postgame that he feels the Wolves still "need another player; another key player.  They need a contributor."

And what of the Laker players?  Do they see anything sanguine in the Wolves future?

All-Star Pau Gasol was genial in his assessment of any progress offered by the team with the worst record in the West.

"It's hard to say in one particular game. You can tell they're a young team; talented.  They're gonna be a little inconsistent," the Spaniard offered after a 12 point, 17 rebound night. "The coach wants to develop the players as much as he can.  And hopefully he can get them to a point where they'll be competitive.  Sometimes, it's a very thin line form being a competitive team that wins 40, 40-pus games to a team that wins 20, 30 games. So the mindset is something the players have to believe in and buy into it."

And while it would be convenient to readily dismiss a bunch on the inverse rung of the conference totem, Gasol was equally descriptive in his personal hopes for the Wolves:

"I wish them well," Gasol continued. "Because, Darko, I played with him a year-and-a-half [in Memphis]. I think Ricky Rubio's gonna come, probably next year. And Kurt was a coach I had as an assistant for a couple of years.  So, obviously I wish them well and want them to do well. We'll see what happens. They looked really good in the preseason when they beat us in London."

Kobe Bryant was judicious in speaking toward Rambis, offering his belief in the longtime

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Laker player, coach and suit. Bryant finished with a game-high 24 points after being held to a mere 4 in the first half.  He said the Wolves have a roster that needs to be keep in-tact.

"It's coming, it's coming," the future Hall of Famer said. "This is a team that, if they still have young pieces, looking back years from now, they have Wesley Johnson and Kevin Love and you have Beasley - all on the same team. And you look up and they're playing for somebody else - it's a crew that they've got to keep together and they've got to grow together."

Bryant was also effusive in praising rook Wesley Johnson, who guarded him with some success and would lead the Wolves with 20 points. The two trained together briefly in the off-season and share the same agent.

"He's improved his game a lot, since even the start of the season," Bryant observed. "He's worked on his jumper, he trusts it and the next step for him is ball-handling. When he can start handling the ball, creating his own shot and getting around guys, the sky's the limit for him. Athletically, he has all the tools."

And Ron Artest?  Well, the mercurial forward was at his blunt best"

"They got a pretty good team. I don't understand why they're not doing better."
But does Artest see much progress from the Wolves after not facing them for three-plus months?

"Not necessarily; not necessarily. They got some good guys on their team. They should be doing better.  They got a great tradition here in Minnesota. You know Minnesota is waiting for a good team. They got some of the pieces to do it. I don't know why it's not happening."

Oh, Ron.  That would take so much more than a postgame chat to explain.


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Anger Managment Canidate
Anger Managment Canidate

Just a bunch of BUMS. And that is all they will EVER be BUMS! Talent? Love. STOP.

Everything on this team sux eggs. Please move & STOP torturing us!

All I hear is rebuild, young team, etc. It has been over 20 years! WTF?

Judd
Judd

Yes. Yes, get it out, Anger. Unburden yourself herein as this is surely an apt space to do so. Love the candor, the CAPS, and the exclamation points. Your frustrations is surely shared by most, if not all who spend valuable time suffering through this ubiquitous process. 22 years and just a lone Western Conference Finals appearance is simply not acceptable. It's not. It's crap. This is one of the most mismanaged teams in the history of professioanl, North American sport. It's a place where coaches (and sometimes players) come to die and a nadir of NBA existance. If owner Glen Taylor weren't atop the NBA Board o Governers, hell, maybe they would be gone already. Improvements for Target Center? Why? Surely there are better ways and places to spend $150 million.

Ah, that felt good. Thank you for the spurring me to get that off my chest.

Drew
Drew

Why didn't we just draft Curry too? We could have had that other piece in place.

Why aren't they winning more? They seem to have some really good players, but unable to get wins in tight games.

Judd
Judd

I'll gather you mean Steph Curry of Golden St. and now the maligned Eddy Curry, whom we just released. Per the former: you're so damn right. This, to me, is David Kahn's (painful) signature move to date, at least as far as the negatives are concerned. Word was that he didn't want to come here and that he may have raised a stink about a pre-draft workout here -- but they still could have chosen him instead of Jonny Flynn. Regarding that same draft, I was cool with the Rubio choice, but the fact that he's still not here and we don't when when he will be begs the question of Kahn's due-dilligence in the matter. In my humble opinion, he's an excellent trade asset right now and will never don a Wolves uniform.

Iyamb001
Iyamb001

Sir Spicer -

Once again i am forced to lament over the management of this talented team. It seems from the article that the opposition seems to have this underlining consensus that the team has talentbut cant understand why they are not doing better. I guess under the guise of Minnesota nice, they didnt want to basically say that Rambis sucks...I wonder when the Zen retires, how high on the list is Rambis as a candidate...If he's not one of the top two in consideration, then my fine penned friend, that will indicate the lack of confidence in his coaching ability...if this team wants to take the next step...the first step they must take is getting rid of Rambis...I'd promote Lambeir in my opinion...a proven champion...what are your thoughts sir...they are always a welcomed read.

Keep up the enjoyable and enthralling writing my friend. It's nice to see the progression in the style of your works over these years...its an arduous job that most dont really comprehend the nuances involved in writing these articles...so my good author...write on brother...right on!!!

cheers,efe.

Judd
Judd

Interesting that the L.A. coaching move was very much a topic of conversation at T Center last night. The word is that longtime assistant Brian Shaw, who's been on the Lakers bench for seven seasons, is in line for the gig. Also vibed last night was that Kobe and Rambis didn't wholly gel during their time together, so take that for what you will in regard to replacing the Zen Master. And while that may be the case with Bryant and Rambis -- there's no way in hell the player would have said anything negative about the coach last night. Did he want to? Who's to really say. But he was asked, and provided only the judicious reply.

Mark Gisleson
Mark Gisleson

I was at the game last night and it was time well spent. The Wolves played the Lakers even for over half the game and while their offense never gelled their defense was better than I've seen it this season.

What I didn't like was discovering that while the view from the upper deck is better than I had expected, being up by the arena speakers was a bit overwhelming. Not deafening, but loud enough to make conversation almost impossible.

I remember when The Saints introduced the concept of nonstop entertainment to MN sports fans. I'm OK with the team filling every dead minute with on-court entertainment but I really don't understand why it has to be so loud. Granted, I'm crowding 60 and the "get off my lawn" stage of life, but I asked the young guy next to me if he thought it was too loud and he said he was a season ticket holder and had complained repeatedly.

$7.50 for a Grain Belt also seemed a bit excessive given that the team has the lowest payroll in the League.

Still, this is a young team and I enjoy watching them even if I usually have to resort to pirated online feeds. Maybe someday the legislature can get around to passing a bill mandating that all teams taking tax dollar subsidies broadcast all their games. With digital signals, I can't understand why there isn't a statewide sports network for broadcasting all the Wolves, Vikings, Twins and Wild games.

Judd
Judd

A very apt point in regard to their defense last night; the effort put forth was really admirable, even if they did get rocked on the defensive boards (offensive boards for the Lakers). I really do think these kids (which is what most of them are) truly respond to bigger crowds, and that the added five or six thousand butts in the seats (whereever those seats may be) gives them a greater sense a purpose.

Malone
Malone

I think Kobe's comments are right on the money - gotta keep the crew together. I listen to Lakers talk every night on the drive home from work and they make such a huge deal about the importance of veteran leadership (kobe, fisher, etc) - especially as the season gets near the playoffs and obviously in the playoffs. When you constantly 'start over' or 'rebuild', you have demolished any type of foundation and always pouring new concrete. That is no way to build a sustainable franchise.

Judd
Judd

Yeah, please include Darko in the questions and remove him from parenthetical status. Damn has he been on a bad run; just manhandled by Bynum last night, offering a mere 4 points and 5 foul to go with 5 rebs in 26 min. He's failed to reach double-digit points in his last five and has double-digit boards just twice since 12/14. A fine start to hisseason has really dissolved.

Judd
Judd

So, you feel this crew has what it takes to grow together an eventually evolve into a .500 team? Honestly: I'm still not sold. I like certain pieces, but at present it seems they're pinning a hell-of-a-lot of what Rubio may bring (aside from inflated attendance).

Malone
Malone

Rubio won't answer all the questions the Twolves have, but keeping the crew together, getting a solid big man (probably not Darko), keeping Beasley out of trouble and hungry and keeping Love in MN would probably go a long way to posting some more W's...

myles
myles

LA Times headline: "Laker's victory is one sided"

So...what else is new with the T-Wolves?

Judd
Judd

Do you think papers just keep a stock of such headers when their respective teams play the Wolves?

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