Losing Is No Longer the New Winning
Warriors 111, Wolves 98
Season Record: 3-21
The top half of Antoine Walker’s courtside attire Wednesday night consisted of a natty, form-fitting, four-button sports coat over a crisp dress shirt. The effect was sharp and sleek. Perhaps even a hair imposing. This was in grotesque contrast to his pants: Zubaz-like in their bagginess, just different enough a shade of brown from the top to trigger a violent clash, and embodying that intangible sort of terrible that makes one yearn to look away even as ones stares, helpless and horror-struck, into the void as it overtakes one’s soul.
Toine’s outfit was a fitting metaphor for the team’s effort in Wednesday night’s loss to the ever-exciting Golden State Warriors.
A confident, tight first half, coupled with a frightened/frighteningly wretched, flabby display in the second. It was enough to make Randy Wittman very angry in the post-game press conference—the angriest we’ve seen him this season.
"It's not who's getting minutes or who's getting touches," he fumed. "I wish it was."
The man has a point. The numbers were there for the Wolves Wednesday night. Judging by them, Al Jefferson had an above-average game (24 points on 17 shots, along with 14 boards). Rashad McCants had a great game (23 points on 16 shots, six assists, three steals, and only one turnover). Sebastian Telfair had an almost-decent game (eight assists, albeit with five turnovers). And Gerald Green, second off the bench because of a flued-out Marko Jaric, had his most productive outing of the season, nailing four treys off the bench, grabbing eight boards, and managing to convey his range of emotions to the scrum of reporters after the game (“I was kind of disappointed. But kind of proud of myself, too.”)
But starting the third quarter with the Wolves up 62-54, the Warriors came out swinging, knocking down pull-up jumpers. And the Wolves reeled, breaking down on defense and allowing easy layups.
"We walked off with our heads down after three minutes," Wittman said of his players' response to the timeout he called early in the third quarter with the lead at three points. And in the ensuing huddle: "I couldn't see any of their eyes and I'm sitting right in front of them."
Coming out of the timeout, the Warriors intensified and extended their run, capitalizing on five straight T-Wolves turnovers(!) to score nine straight points. Those five turnovers were committed by five different players, so it's not easy to pick out any individual's failing.
But with the Wolves down by six points halfway through the third quarter, this much was clear: The players knew they were going to lose the game, and so did the alleged 13,000-plus in the stands.