The Three-Pointer: Is the pattern ridiculous yet?

1. Fill out this form in triplicate. Twice.

Exact double-digit lead blown, and when it started to occur? 15 points, at 45-30 with 2:43 left to play in the first half. Mark Blount first quarter points? 11, on 5-5 FG and 1-2 FT. Mark Blount second, third, and fourth quarter points? 7 on 1-7 FG and 5-8 FT Career high in points or assists by an opponent? For a change, nobody! Wolves shooting percentage, first half? 58% (19-33 FG) Wolves shooting percentage, second half? 24% (9-37 FG) Last tie score? 75-75, with 3:02 left in the game. Final score? 86-82, New Jersey. Last Wolves win on the road? February 6. Next road win? ???

2. Half court freelancers. Some of you probably noticed my little meltdown this afternoon after a poster simultaneously wanted everyone to know he'd anointed KG a member of his All Dunkafunkl team and proposed trading him for a couple of draft picks so the Wolves could go chase some high-priced talent. What I should do more often is praise the commentary that enlightens me, like Garwood Jones a couple of treys back, elucidating how KG makes people better the more they grasp the fundamental nuances of the game. Weinhold gets on my case for kissing Garnett's ass, and I'll cop to being an unabashed fan (alas, no autographed memorabilia though Peter).

So, because I'm biased, I'll throw this out for feedback before weighing in with my own opinion: How does a team implement an offense where Kevin Garnett plays more than 40 minutes and registers zero assists and four turnovers? And is the fact that Ricky Davis had 9 dimes tonight (and ten the previous game) ultimately good for this team, in terms of the way the ball is distributed? Is it good or bad that Jaric likewise was shut out in the assist category, while Marcus Banks had 5? Indeed, Banks and Davis alone totalled 14 of the Wolves 19 assists.

Ah screw it, I'll reveal my bias with a few more "questions." How often does this team create good spacing and then swing the ball enough to arrive at a nice, open jumper with less than 10 seconds on the clock? How often did the Nets do it tonight (even as they clanked most of their shots)? How often did it happen during the 9 years Flip Saunders coached this team? How much easier is it to defend against a team that doesn't move the ball in this fashion? How much does it preserve your legs and stamina for some second-half energy with which to mount a comeback from a double-digit deficit? Just asking.

3. A starter's penalty. Rashad McCants got the nod over Marko Jaric as the starting small forward in place of the injured Trenton Hassell. The rook picked up two fouls within the first two minutes, and then pretty much languished on the bench for the rest of the game, logging less than 9 minutes overall. Yeah, McCants didn't look very good while he was out there. But isn't the point of the 68th game of a lost season to entrust as much playing time as possible to the youngsters who figure to be the cornerstones of your squad in the near future? Especially when your team is shooting 9-37 in the second half.

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