The Three-Pointer: 0-3 in Overtime
1. Picking their poison The Wolves were determined not to let NBA scoring leader Allen Iverson beat them tonight, holding him to a season-low 19 points (in 51 minutes) and 32 percent shooting. They were determined to deny Kyle Korver the ball, and permitted Korver, who'd had back-to-back 20-point games and was an unconscious 10-11 from the field last time out, only 8 shot attempts in 45 minutes. Consequently, Chris Webber murdered them with 27 points and 21 boards, triple the rebounding total of Kevin Garnett.
If anyone had any doubts about Casey's defensive schemes cutting into KG's boards, they should be removed after seeing this game. Yes, Garnett is no longer at his peak athleticism. But Casey would rather contest shots than grab a higher percentage of rebounds; his players rotate hard and challenge the shooter, making it tougher to box out. Ask yourself how many times Iverson had an open look off the dribble in the half-court sets, and how many times Korver had more than a split-second to shoot. Damn few. But how many times was Philly in position for offensive boards and how many times was C-Webb able to square up and pop that midrange J? Too many.
2. Missing T-Hud, cursing Frahm After Marko Jaric fouled out two minutes into overtime, the Wolves' offense was toast--literally, they didn't score again. The 76ers kept a body on Wally and collapsed around KG when he had the ball and that's all they needed to do. After hearing Trenton Hassell talk about empathizing with Ron Artest's desire to be seen as more than just a great defender, one might think he'd seize this time. But no, he disappeared. (As did Wally--what about running a play for your sharpshooter, coach? Or at least letting someone else inbound the ball so the defense has the sharpshooter to worry about in the final minute of the 4th quarter and overtime.)
Troy Hudson, the guy I'd ripped regularly and royally through most of the first three weeks of the season, was sorely missed tonight. In his stead was Richie Frahm. No Rashad McCants. Richie Frahm wanted no part of winning or losing that game in crunch time. I bet McCants goes back to the hotel tonight and puts his foot through the television. Even if McCants couldn't defend anybody to save his life (which isn't true, by the way), there are about 14 reasons he should play over Frahm, for the good of the team now, and in 2012.
After hitting his first shot in overtime, making him 9-17 from the field, KG was 0-5, in heavy traffic. Jaric hit his only J attempt before fouling out, and Frahm was 0-1. Throw in two clanked free throws from AC and that was the Wolves' entire offense: Kevin Garnett and some misguided prayers for KG. BTW, Carter's crucial choke at the line (neither shot was close, let's face it) removed some of the shine from his 4th quarter steal that culminated a 12-0 Wolves run that transformed a certain loss into a heartrending overtime defeat.
Bottom line, I want Rashad McCants trying to atone for stupid fouls and unseen back-door cuts by taking those dishes from a triple-teamed KG and tickling the nylon with a long trey, or delivering a definitive dunk like the left-handed jam he facialed Dalembert (a top-10 shotblocker in this league) on in the first half. I don't want Richie Frahm muttering to himself and praying that somebody else gets the ball when the clock is winding down.
3. Ron Artest? He wants to be traded. Indiana says they'll try to oblige. Ron Artest is worth at least any two players on this roster not named Garnett. This could be a "failed experiment" that blows up the fucking arena, especially with a guy like KG stoking the fire. But it could also be the finest pair of forwards to ever grace an NBA team.
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