Al Jefferson walks the long road
Here's a sad comment on the Timberwolves diminished cultural cache in these Twin Cities: last night, I was unable to watch the Pups lose another crusher to the Clippers--and, at 1-13 equal the worst start in franchise history--because the game was simply not on television. Everything about that last sentence is a bummer. So I'll cede the floor to somebody who could actually watch the game, Kevin Arnovitz of Truehoop and Clipperblog. In his typically astute style, Arnovitz picks up on the sad fact that, although we've lately seen the return of some of that quickness and graceful footwork, Al Jefferson is simply not yet himself. Arnovitz writes:
That sense of purpose which has always guided Jefferson when he has the ball down on the block? It wasn't there Monday night. Jefferson turned the ball over eight times -- five of those traveling violations. Faced up against Marcus Camby or Chris Kaman down on the left block, Jefferson preceded his patented up-fake with an extra step, sometimes in anticipation of a pending double-team, sometimes out of sheer impatience.
As I've pointed out, Big Al is putting on a brave face. He's talking about patience; he's playing the most committed defense of his career; he's trying to be a leader. But if you look at those slumped shoulders and cloudy expression, you know: this is not easy.
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