Towns V Spurs V 59 Wins were do we stand?

I really love basketball but if we are being straight my first love was baseball.  It always will be too.  I never got past 6’4″ and slow so beyond rec-ball I had no bball future.  I was looking for some Wolves pix over on Getty.  I always see these sweet Getty Image shots on people’s sites and I’m like okay fam how are you covering the cost of those photos?  Like for real.  Last night Karl-Anthony Towns had a monster of a game.  It’s going to be out-shinned nationally by Embiid and possibly even Porzingis.  I didn’t watch Embiid until the 3rd quarter and he owned the Lakers.  The Lakers can’t match-up against Embiid, KAT or the Zinger.  Maybe we need to look at these three guys performance against like opponents to really see how they shake out.  Even then the team aspect changes things so I’m not sure.  KAT balled last night and he won’t get much of any love. In honor of him deserving love and me finding out about Getting Images embed policy here’s KAT throwing out the first pitch at a Twins game.

Embed from Getty Images

The picture is from September 20, 2015 so its dated but whatevs.  Look how KAT keeps the ball hidden.  Now think about a 7’+ dude with a wing-span far greater than that keeping that fastball or slider grip hidden from you this well.  By the time he releases that it’s on you.  Dudes got long enough limbs that we probably need to figure out if the ball reaches its peak velo or if it’s still accelerating.

Think about that framed by Sota spotting the Spurs 6 in the first.  Only to hide that release to the last possible moment and bang bring the pain in the 2nd to the tune of 20 points.  It took about four minutes into the second and the Wolves never looked back.

Game Box Score
Wolves versus the Spurs box score via Basketball-reference

The box score is a nice representation of the game.  Wolves were finding themselves in the first.  Coming out hot.  This is the second time the Wolves have faced the Spurs, having lost the season opener in San Antonio.  Still, I found myself saying who the hell are these guys on the Spurs bench.  I had to look up Bryn Forbes.  Dude didn’t do much of anything but so far this year I think I’d like to see him as our wing depth over Bazz.  I just like how Pop finds dudes that he nurtures along on his bench for a season or two that then end up being contributors.  Patty Mills and Kyle Anderson are the current guys I’m thinking of in this vein but just look through Spurs rosters for the past 15 years.  Every year you’ll find a guy that you just shake your head at saying “huh only the spurs man.”  (When I mumble to myself about other sports teams its always in the disrespectful lower-case sense.  I never capitalize that shit when I’m hate mumbling.)  The Spurs go to that bench and pull ahead on the Wolves.  No real surprise cause they are the Spurs and the Wolves have lost 18 straight to them going into last night.  The Spurs push it out to eight points early in the 2nd.  As you can see on the ESPN game summary below the Spurs fall off a cliff shortly thereafter.

Wolves V Spurs ESPN Game Summary

That game flow there is okay but it’s not large enough for my liking.  It also doesn’t appear to show the game correctly.  Below is the win probability for the game and it shows the general vibe from the game a little better in my opinion.

ESPN Win Probability

The ESPN tool has nice hover over effects.  I’ve linked to the site so go check it out.  The ESPN game summary is a lot better than it used to be.  Its still ESPN and its not really the best mobile experience.  I guess I don’t really know I just use BR or Score on my phone.  They both have some BS ads but nowhere nearly as frustrating as ESPN.  BR Mag is solid so I like that app for that alone.  As it shows the Wolves got the lead and never really were in real trouble of losing the game.    

As soon as the Wolves jump on the Spurs in the second its over.  Part of this second quarter butt-whipping goes to the four straight pick and roll possessions with KAT and Tyus Jones.  Jace  Fredrick broke that shit down completely below.


Finally cause I can’t help but put graphics in this one let’s get to the old fav PopCornMachine’s game flow.  For me, this is still the way to go.

PopCornMachine Game Flow

The flow of what players are on the court is just beauty in motion.  Hockey subs are fine at half-time.  Pop is a genius, having forgotten or mentally overwritten more about basketball than I’ve absorbed.  (Lame trope used) I’ve got to question going +7 (Pau was held over briefly and that unit was +2 with Pau so really +9) in the 3rd then Pop yanks that unit and the fresh five give up an 8-0 run.  That’s the sort of things you can easily with the PopCornMachine flows.

Don’t kid yourself Kwahi wasn’t in the game.  When he’s back and in the game-flow, this is a different team.  The guys on the end of the bench I mentioned before, well they are shooters.  When you’ve got LMA and Kwahi you don’t have to try to figure out some smoke and mirrors bs with Pau and LMA.  Let’s hope Kwahi heals up fast and is back to 100%.

The Wolves won this one to end the streak.  KAT played really well.  Posting an offensive rating of 125 and a defensive rating of 94 for the baller +31 net rating.  Wiggins was sort of so-so for me and the ratings coming in at -8.  (Offensive 101 and defensive 109)  Buckets brought the d for the most part but forgot his offense in Chicago.  Buckets had a respectable defensive rating of 93 but that offensive rating was a hugely questionable 68.  Without Buckets the other four starters averaged an offensive rating of 115.5.  When you bring Buckets into the conversation they fall down to 106.  That’s what 2 for 13 will do for you.  The counting numbers weren’t great 6pt, 5rb, 5 ast, 3stl, 1blk and 1 tov with a +/- of +6.  That’s role-player level.  All of the starters played 30+ minutes (hey man Taj play 30:05 soi ts accurate) and this wasn’t helped by Gorgui missing his 3rd straight with a sprained finger.  Soaking up the extra minutes Bjelly nabbed 11 pts on 5 for 9 shooting.  On top of that, he had a plus 34 net rating which is baller!  Bazz hooped tonight.  Just nine points but the offensive rating comes in at 176 backed by a 90% true shooting percentage.  The defensive rating at 108 feels like so-so but that still nets out to a 68.  Yeah, I did the math right yo net rating of 68.

Wrapping the gamer part of this one up the Wolves ended the 18-game losing streak.  They had a great all-around defensive game.   The bench showed up for the Wolves even though they were thin.  Tyus and KAT had it going on the pick-and-roll.  Bazz was a monster.  Buckets get a mulligan.

Before my thoughts on my 59 game projection here is a quick picture of Embiid followed by one of the Zinger.  Since those dudes had good nights too.

Embiid!

Embed from Getty Images

Zinger!

Embed from Getty Images

The Wolves are 9-5.  At this point in my 59 win prediction, I had us at 10-4.  Right now I had us on quite the win-streak.  Counting the Spurs win I had us on a 9 game win-streak, so that means we need to win the next eight games.  Who’s on the docket?  Dallas, Detriot, Charlotte, Orlando, Miami, Phoenix, Washington, and New Orleans.  Looking at those we need to exact revenge on Detroit and Phoenix.  We have at Charlotte and at New Orleans so those might be dicey too.  The realistic take on these next 8 we should go 6-2.  For me to hang my hat on this crazy big number we need to go 8-0.  #AllEyesNorth Baby!