Spurs In Minnesota For Mexico Makeup Game
Tonight, the Spurs head to the Target Center to take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. This one wasn’t actually on the schedule initially but then the international incident that was the smokey arena happened in Mexico City. As a result, the good people of Minneapolis get an extra game of basketball. Given that this game has very little impact on either team, I decided to enlist the help of Steve McPherson from A Wolf Among Wolves and Grantland. He’s going to give us a look into a Timberwolves fan’s psyche as the season winds down.
Trevor Zickgraf, 48 Minutes of Hell: This game is being played to make up the Mexico City game that, due to a mechanical fire in a generator room, was postponed. My first question is have you visited the generator rooms in the Target Center lately and if so, how are they?
Steve McPherson, A Wolf Among Wolves: I’ll be honest: It’s been a while since I’ve been into the bowels of the Target Center to inspect the electrical equipment down there, but I can tell you from personal experience that if there’s a fire down there, it’s never getting out. That place is more confusing than an M.C. Escher print.
TZ: I’m fascinated by Ricky Rubio. Despite the dreadful shooting numbers, he’s still a starting point guard in this league, right? His PER is above league average despite the shooting numbers. Where does he go from here?
SM: I’ve actually got a sizable thing up on Hardwood Paroxysm today that looks into one aspect of this: his relationship with Rick Adelman. Although Adelman is a terrific, Hall of Fame coach, that doesn’t automatically mean he can get the maximum out of every player’s potential. Adelman enjoyed his greatest success with players like Mike Bibby who were shooters first, which Rubio certainly isn’t. With everything pointing towards Adelman opting out next season, it will be interesting to see what further things Rubio can unlock beyond what Adelman’s already done.
TZ: I feel like the Wolves have always been a tough matchup for the Spurs. Why do you think that is? Kevin Love? Rick Adelman’s offense?
SM: Without looking anything up, my gut feeling is that it’s a combination of a number of things that include Rubio being a decent defensive matchup against Parker, Pekovic being a handful for Splitter down low, some good luck having to do with injuries and rest for Spurs’ starters, and the Wolves desire to get out on the break and ram it down the other team’s throat. The Wolves have generally fared pretty well against the Thunder as well, which may also speak to the Wolves’ tendency to play both up and down to their competition. Handy when you’re playing good teams, not so much when you’re playing bad ones.
TZ: I know it’s been a difficult season for Wolves fans, but is there something you’ve seen in the last month or two that’s been encouraging?
SM: Rubio’s shooting has actually been a lot better since a rather awful December. Since January 1st he’s shot 40.3 percent and since March 1st, 43.1 percent. Now that’s not going to set anyone’s hair on fire, but it’s into the Jason Kidd-ish area it needs to be if the other aspects of his game are going to flourish. If that’s more representative of what we have going forward than the abysmal 32.7 percent he shot in December, that’s great. Plus, there’s the emergence of Gorgui Dieng, which at least to me shouldn’t threaten Pekovic’s starting role but only enhance it. Basically, you’ve got two solid centers with different skillsets for the next several years who will cost you less than $15 million a year. That’s a great position to be in.
TZ: Finally, have you seen the Spurs’ HEB commercials and if so, what’s better: any Spurs HEB commercial or the Wolves.com holiday greeting spots?
SM: I’m going to have to go against my hometown instincts and say that the Spurs’ HEB commercials verge on surrealist art, whereas the Wolves’ holiday greeting cards are very entertaining but only that. I will, however, put the now officially banned “Where In The World Is Nikola Pekovic?” clip up against anything you’ve got. Seriously: They had to take it off of the team’s website because of problems with the Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego people. A shame.
Follow Steve on Twitter and make sure to check out his work on A Wolf Among Wolves, Grantland, Hardwood Paroxysm and about seven other places on the internets. Tip-off from the Target Center is set for 7 p.m. central time. Any Spurs fans in the Twin Cities can get seats for tonight’s game by visiting our friends at TiqIQ.