Archive for November, 2012

Nikola Pekovic – Photo from blogs.citypages.com

Nikola Pekovic is my favorite Timberwolf.

He’s huge, he’s tough and he has a giant tattoo on his upper arm of a large cloaked warrior holding a broadsword that is crushing a pile of skulls.   I once mentioned on Facebook that only a 6’11”, 290 giant from Eastern European cold pull that tattoo off.  A stranger who had just friended me commented “Yeah, let’s hope he ‘pulls it off’ because that tattoo is lame-o.'”  Blocked!  You’d be better off insulting my kids in front of me than Big Pek.  (I don’t have any kids, but if I did I would force them…no, no, that’s wrong…encourage them to get the Pekovic tattoo in 6th grade as a way to fend off bullies.)

Honestly, I don’t get star-struck.  I’ve met a fair share of famous people and they usually just seem like regular human beings to me.

That said, if I met Pek I’d probably turn into a shaky-kneed little girl who just found out that One Direction is coming over for dinner.  I’ve already planned out what I’d do if I met him, where it would be and how many pictures/autographs I’d get.  (I’d scream and it would be in the the skyway.  One autograph and two pictures.)

Even a green-screen backdrop and a Crocodile Hunter hat can’t make Pek not look tough. Photo from thepwe.com

But dammnit, Pek, where the hell was your head last night?  His box score doesn’t look horrible at first glance.  He had a double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, two steals and a block.  But during a big stretch of the first half he fumbled, turned over and flat-out goofed everything up play after play.  He shot 5-13 and missed a handful of easy, gimme shots.  He looked horrible.

I’m not one of those people who thinks I can do better.  Yeah, I’m 6’5″ and 225.  But I’m shaped like a Weeble Wobble.  And I do fall down.  A lot.  I find it difficult to hold my arms in the air for more than three seconds at a time.  If my teeth get hit I get a headache and need to sit down for the rest of the day.  I am a pussy.  But when a professional athlete can’t do something that is supposed to be a given, it drives me insane.

And for Pek, that something is bunny shots.  He’s supposed to catch the ball and either pass it or take a shot that is preferably two inches from the rim.  But last night he couldn’t do either.  He looked like an Amish kid who just got tossed an Iphone.

Other noteworthy things from last night: Andrei Kirilenko didn’t play due to back spasms, which were apparently brought on by his horrible dragon back tattoo.  Derrick Williams threw down a thunderous one-handed dunk and then proceeded to play like an idiot for the rest of the game, Malcolm Lee showed some of his potential and Ricky Rubio was cleared for full-contact practice!!!

That is intensely positive news for the Timberwolves.  Everything changed last year after Rubio went down.  The air went out of the team, the fans, even Michael Beasley’s water-bong.  It does make me a little nervous, though.  I don’t want to rush him back only to have him crumble again like a fragile little Spanish Christmas ornament.  Cuidado, Ricky Rubio, cuidado.  Take your vitamins, stay away from Kobe Bryant and if a blue Robin Williams genie gives you some wishes, ask for three knees.

Photo from ology.com

Thank God for Sacramento!

There’s a sentence nobody’s ever said beforeIt ranks on the unused list right between “Why are you touching me, Kate Upton?” and “I volunteer for experimental vasectomy surgery.”

Two out of our six wins were against Sacramento.  The importance of that can’t be overstated in a year that we’ve lost to both Charlotte and Toronto.  Gah.  Really?  The Bobcats and the Raptors?  The Bobcats’ best players are Kemba Walker and a sandwich and I’m pretty sure every Raptors’ home game happened because the crowd wandered in on accident.   I cannot accept getting beaten by a team that named themselves after Jurassic Park.

It’s not like the Kings don’t have talent.  I fear the day that DeMarcus Cousins gets his head straightened out.  That guy is one of the most gifted basketball players to come into the league in years.  But he’s got some serious anger issues, especially for a third-year player who’s supposed to be paying his dues.  He’s been kicked out of practice for refusing to listen to the coach, removed from an airplane because of an altercation with a teammate and suspended two games for confronting Spurs’ announcer Sean Elliot after a game because he mentioned on-air that Cousins needs to learn a bit of humility.  Way to prove him wrong there, Gandhi.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a dick too.  But I don’t make 4 million dollars a year.  Drink some chamomile or something, buddy.  Put on some freak-sized yoga pants and get in touch with your inner sweetheart.  It’s not like someone ate your lasagna in the break-room at Walgreens.  You’re a famous, physically dominate millionaire.  Calm the crap down and don’t screw things up.  Then, when you’re done with the NBA and made your money, you can go asshole it up all over the world!   Go punch every Australian you meet.  Piss on the Eiffel Tower because it doesn’t understand you.  Tell a dolphin you don’t love it.  Whatever!

Take our own Luke Ridnour:

Dude’s one bag of meth from being an extra on Breaking Bad.  I guarantee he’s had a street name like “Booby” before.  But he keeps his mouth shut.  Last night he had 18 points and five assists.  He knows he’s not Chris Paul, so he works his ass off just to stay around.  He’s not making trade demands.  He just keeps on working on his middle school mustache and making shots when we need him to.

So even though the Kings have as much, if not more, physical talent than the Timberwolves, we still beat them through our patented combination of hard work and luck.  And nobody embodied that combination more last night than Kevin Love.  He had 23 points and 24 rebounds, 21 of which were defensive rebounds.  21!  That’s not just hard work, that’s John Henry.

And as far as the luck part goes.  Well, we’ve had more injuries than a Dance Dance Revolution party at a Crisco factory.  So if this is the shot that has to be the game-sealer for us, we’ll take it:

I’m pretty sure I ruined the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It wasn’t the Joe Smith scandal that did it, or our abysmal drafting record.

It’s the fact that I started this blog.

We’ve been winless since I decided to make a bad pun on a Rancid album and start chronicling each game.  I’m 0-4.  Even Kurt Rambis had a better record.

I’m a very superstitious dude.  As a stand-up comedian, if I ever have a bad set I never wear the shirt I was wearing again.  I have two shirts left.

I actually really like doing this blog though, so I’m not going to quit.  I’ve been so optimistic before each game and then we’ve lost.

Just this once, I’m going to try a different approach:

We are going to lose so bad on Tuesday against the Sacramento Kings.  We are going to score zero points.  Probably the whole team will be injured.  This will begin a 40 game losing streak.  There’s no way that Ricky Rubio will come back sooner than expected.  And we’ll certainly never make the playoffs and establish ourselves as the team of the future and arch-rivals to our only competitor, the Oklahoma City Thunder.  (Fuck you, Lakers.)

Well, we have a losing record again.

It’s actually kind of comforting.  Like a pair of ratty sweat pants, it’s familiar and screams “I give up!”  Spill some mustard on it.  Who cares?  It’s not like you’re going anywhere.

Okay, I think I’m taking this a little too hard.  Nobody’s giving up just yet.  5-6 isn’t the end of the world.  As we all know, we still have a lot of injuries and that will correct itself.  Plus, it takes time to work your superstar back into the rotation.

But there is one giant elephant in the room that needs to be addressed: Michael Beasley 2.0.

Otherwise known as Derrick Williams.

Photo from basketball.realgm.com

D-Will has played zero minutes the last two games.  NOT ONE minute.  And he’s not injured.  That’s the #2 pick in the 2011 draft we’re talking about here.  And LOU AMUNDSON played for crying out loud!  Dude looks like a NARC from 21 Jump Street.

Rick Adelman always seems to have one or two players that he’s not fond of and this year that player is clearly Williams.  It’s actually one of the many things I love about our coach.  He does not suffer bad playing and lousy attitudes.  If you aren’t helping, you sit.  End of story.  Barring the possibility that Adelman had a senior moment and simply forgot Williams existed for two games, I’d say that somebody’s in the dog house.  Or on the trading block.  Or both.

Should we trade him?  Yes, yes and yes.  There has been a much rumored deal for a while now about some kind of Pau Gasol for Williams-plus-someone deal.  I would love for that to happen.  Gasol still has a lot of juice in him and he’s boys with Ricky Rubio.  That’d give us two sets of Russian/Spaniard Super-Friends.  And each of those two groups would have one ugly person and one heart-throb, like an athletic Hall & Oates times two.  It’s perfect.  Except unfortunately Gasol would push our awkward white guy level to Defcon 5.  There’s only so many times we can say “We’re diverse!  We’re GLOBAL!” before it starts to get suspect.  (But quit calling JJ Barea white.  He’s Puerto Rican!  Yeah, he’d look completely at home at a Toby Keith concert but his name is JOSE!)

Derrick Williams has the potential to be a really good player.  I think he’s got tons of talent and most likely has a good future in the NBA as a third or maybe even second option.  He can jump through the roof and has flashes of brilliance.  But he plays the same position as the best power forward in the league and his key competitor for back-up minutes at the 4 (Dante Cunningham) has proven he has the heart of a lion.  Williams had all summer to learn how to play the 3 and seemingly either couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.

So how can Derrick Williams turn things around, get on Adelman’s good side and save his season?  I brainstormed for an hour and this is what I came up with:

Suggestion #1) Learn to play basketball better.

That’s all I’ve got.

Oh, so you were awesome in college?  Guess what, so was everybody else.  This is the NBA.  When I was in fifth grade I was a damn good saxophone player.  Some might even say the best at Jefferson Elementary.  Nobody could play the Batman theme or “We’re Not Going To Take It” by Twisted Sister better than me.  But then I moved on to middle school, and suddenly I wasn’t the best.  Kevin Deal (the LeBron James of early-90s northern Iowa middle-school saxophonists) was the undisputed king.  And do you know what I did?  I did what any self-respecting American would do:  I quit. I quit and then opted to throw M&Ms at the marching bands’ helmets from the bleachers during football games instead.

So shit or get off the pot, Derrick Williams.  We don’t need you.  Either be more of a team player and less of an inconsistent cry-baby, or start working on your estate sale.

Photo by Trey Kirby

Very few things in the NBA surprise me anymore.  I knew DeMarcus Cousins would be a prick to everybody on Earth. I suspected that a rookie who’s afraid to get on airplanes wouldn’t play any games.  And I psychically predicted that Andrew Bynum would grow a Don King/Phil Spector hair-hybrid and get hurt while bowling.

But holy crap, Kevin Love is back already!  I didn’t see that coming at all.  He was supposed to be back in December.  Screw Thanksgiving, Christmas came early!

Now, the official story is that Love broke his hand doing “knuckle push-ups” several weeks ago, but I’ve heard numerous people insinuate that it was really from something else.  Nobody ever really clarified what “something else” was.  Punching a wall?  Sitting on his own hand?  Power Glove accident?  All I know is that Kevin Love supposedly can do two types of push-ups, normal and knuckly and I can’t even do the one (unless you count the bend-your-knees-wussy kind.)

Does it really matter how he got hurt?  Are you kidding me?  What matters is Santa Claus is in the house and he’s wearing #42.

I was on the road in North Dakota to perform stand-up comedy the night of the game, but I had enough time to catch the first half.  They had the game on there, because North Dakota lacks a team of any kind and just adopts all Minnesota culture as their own.  They stole our accent.  I’m not even sure that they have their own HIGH SCHOOL teams.  Bismarck just counts North Minneapolis’ record as their own.

So I watched the first half in my hotel room before the show and screamed things that probably aren’t too out of the ordinary at a Days Inn like “Put a body on him!” and “Throw it down!” Love was incredible with 22 points and eight rebounds in the first half alone while carrying us to a 17 point lead.  Surely that meant we were on pace for a 40 point win over a strong team.  As I went down to the club to do my show, I debated which team I wanted us to play in the playoffs.  I wondered what street the city of Minneapolis would have the NBA championship parade on.  We were going to win not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven….

And then we lost the game by seven.  Doh!  Classic Timberwolves.

Lesson learned:  Don’t get ahead of ourselves.  Yes, Kevin Love is back. He finished with 34 points and 14 rebounds even with the lousy second half and the Michael Jackson glove.  That kind of productivity while being limited physically is insane.  In comparison, I almost didn’t write this blog today because I didn’t get my nappy-wap.  If I had a broken hand I wouldn’t even leave the house.

Tonight we play the Portland Trailblazers on the road.  I predict nothing.  I am not going to jinx anything.  There is a slight possibility that basketballs will be dribbled.  Somewhere out there in the world DeMarcus Cousins will be a prick.  But that’s all I’ve got.  Christmas does not come early.

At least not without Rudolph.

Photo via basket4us.com

This isn’t our fault.

You can’t blame a team for losing when we’re injured and running at 20%.

“So were the Golden State Warriors” you say.  “They were without Andrew Bogut and Brandon Rush.”

Not the same thing!  Brandon Rush is just one role player and Andrew Bogut hasn’t played a game since 1948.  Players wore Converse the last time he was on a court. When he finally comes back they’re going to have to remind him how to play basketball.  He’ll be like Gandalf from Lord Of The Rings returning after a thousand years.

“Yes… That’s what they used to call me. Andrew Bogut. That was my name. I am Bogut the White.”

The Timberwolves aren’t just injured, they are crippled.  The whole team is gone. They are depleted, sapped and wiped clean.  The cosmos drank our milkshake and we don’t get another one until January.

To illustrate: Let’s pretend that the 2012-2013 Minnesota Timberwolves are a season of Full House.  (I will not make a white joke here, I will not make a white joke here.)

Kevin Love is Bob Saget/Danny Tanner –  The main dog. Seems like a nice guy on the surface but underneath is dirty as shit.
Ricky Rubio is John Stamos/Jesse Katsopolis – Flashy. Unconventional. Cool hair.
Nikola Pekovic is a humongous Dave Coulier/Joey Gladstone – Trust-worthy and solid. Does not tell jokes well.

Those are the three main characters.  Now get rid of those characters and still have a show.  How’s that feel?  Not very good, huh?  But maybe you still try and plug along with the supporting cast:

Chase Budinger is DJ Tanner – Pretty and brittle. Like a unique snowflake.
Luke Ridnour is Stephanie Tanner – Nobody’s favorite.
JJ Barea is the Olsen Twins – Tiny and seem like two different people at times.

Now get rid of two out of three of those characters.  Still want a show?  Okay, we can still do this.

Brandon Roy is Pam Tanner – The wife that died a long time ago.
Derrick Williams is Kimmy Gibbler – #%$@ING ANNOYING.
Andrei Kirilenko & Alexi Shved are the new twins that were added later on when things weren’t cute anymore.
Josh Howard is DJ’s boyfriend Steve who showed up out of nowhere and you’re still trying to decide if you like him or if he’s too old.
Dante Cunningham is Jesse’s wife Rebecca – He’s cool.
Greg Stiemsma and Malcolm Lee are the extras who walk by a scene sometimes.
And Lou Amundson is Boner.  I know Boner was from “Growing Pains” but I don’t give a shit.  He’s Boner.

So if the T-Wolves were Full House, that means right now the show would star: Kimmy Gibbler, Stephanie Tanner, two baby twins, the boyfriend and Jesse’s wife.  That’s not Full House that’s Empty Nest.  But without the doctor, the wacky neighbor and the Golden Girls cameos.

But we’re still on the air.

And pretty soon we’ll get Dave Coulier back.  Then the Olsen Twins.  Then the dead wife might haul her zombie knees out of the ground.  Then Bob-freaking-Saget comes back and we have a show again.  But it’s not over yet because right after that fancy-pants Jesse comes back.  And just in time for the season finale comes DJ Tanner.

Suddenly, it’s TGIF again.

In the meantime, here’s the good news:  We have five days off before we play again, at home against the Denver Nuggets.    Five days is summer vacation for us. Five days is a rehab clinic.  Five days is manna from heaven.

Denver is a good team.  They’re well-coached and they have a nice, unselfish squad in addition to their new star Andre Iguodala.

But I feel like we can pull this one off.  Because we have banded together as a team and a fan-base.  Because “United We Run.” Because…

What ever happened to predictability?
The milk man, the paper boy, evening T.V
You miss your old familar friends, but
waiting just around the bend.

Everywhere you look (everywhere)
There’s a heart (there’s a heart)
A hand to hold on to.
Everywhere you look (everywhere)
There’s a face of somebody who needs you.

When you’re lost out there and your all alone
A light is waiting to carry you home
Everywhere you look.

My name is Mike Brody and I’m a diehard Minnesota Timberwolves fan.

That really feels like an AA introduction.  Actually, being a Wolves fan is a lot like being an alcoholic. Years of crying, frustration, denial and blame followed by moments of clarity and giving up.  Then the relapses.  “This year’s going to be different!”  Sure it is.  Just keep telling yourself that while you pee your pants at Denny’s.

So for the sake of my sanity, I needed an outlet to vent about the highs and lows of being a fan of the boys in blue.  But mostly the lows.

Dear God, the lows.

Remember 2004?  Wasn’t that a great year?  We were so happy then.  We made the Western Conference Finals and then lost to a Lakers team that had a 65 year old Karl Malone on it.  Even our best memory sucks.

As I type this we are already eight games into the 2012-2013 NBA season and the Timberwolves are 5-3. Technically, we are massively over-achieving, even with the soft schedule.  And yet our injuries are almost at a maliciously bad level.  Five out of our top six players are hurt. This is why we can’t have nice things.

Here’s an incredibly brief run-down of each game of the season and my corresponding emotion:

Fri Nov 2 – vs. Sacramento Kings W 92-80 – Excitement
Sun Nov 4 – @ Toronto Rapters L 86-105 – Disappointment
Mon Nov 5 – @ Brooklyn Nets W 107-96 – Delighted shock
Wed Nov 7 – vs. Orlando Magic W 90-75 – Contentment
Fri Nov 9 – vs. Indiana Pacers W 96-94 – (Brandon Roy goes down with an injury) Worried but optimistic
Sat Nov 10 – @ Chicago Bulls L 80-87 – (Chase Budinger goes down with an injury) Panic
Mon Nov 12 – @ Dallas Mavericks W 90-82 – (Nikola Pekovic goes down with an injury) Incredulous exasperation
Wed Nov 14 – vs Charlotte Bobcats L 87-89 – Depression with a touch of understanding

Which brings us to tonight’s home game against the Golden State Warriors.  Who else can get injured?  Do we even have enough people for a game?  Can Crunch play in his mascot suit?  What are the odds of Jack Sikma straining his taint while reaching for a clipboard?

God, grant the Timberwolves the serenity to accept the things they cannot change (injuries), the courage to change the things they can (Derrick Williams) and the wisdom to know the difference (please win).  Peace.

The Timberwolves’ history summed up in one picture (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)