The Minnesota Timberwolves first opening night sellout since 2007 ended in a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Taget Center was electric from the pregame warm-ups, and I don’t think anyone left the arena with their heads down. Ricky Rubio got a standing ovation when he entered the game in the first quarter, and did not disappoint from there. The Timberwolves played in perhaps their most exciting game in 8 years, and the team definitely walked away with more positives than negatives.
Let’s take a look and “the good” and “the bad” from opening night:
THE GOOD: The Target Center crowd. From the moment the team took the floor for pregame warm-ups, you could tell the night was going to be something special. A large group of lunatics at the top of lower level chanted “DE-FENCE” on the opening possion for the Thunder, and another group of Darko supporters went crazy with every graceful (clutsy) left handed jump hook. This kind of support is a sign that the Timberwolves are back on the relevence map in Minnesota.
THE BAD: The three point shooting. The Timberwolves shot only 13% from downtwown (3 for 22), several of those shots were in-and-out though. The team relied a little too much on the outside shot at times too, especially when the outside shots were not falling.
TH E GOOD: Ricky Rubio. He provided the spark, the energy, and the flair that every Timberwolves fan was hoping for. After just 1 regular season game, it’s very evident Rubio has “the magic”. He has the ability to make the passes that no one else can. It’s a very rare skill that very few players in the history of the game have. Such players like Bob Cousey, “Pistol” Pete Maravich, Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Jason Kidd, and Steve Nash come to mind when considering players who have had the court vision that Rubio does.
THE BAD: Anthony Tolliver. Why he continues to get so much playing time while providing such lackluster results continues to blow my mind. First half Tolliver stats: 14 minutes, 0 points, 1 rebound, 0 blocks, 0 steals. He did come up with 1 big block in the 2nd half that led to a thunderous Derrick Williams dunk, but his overall performance was worse than his choice of socks. Get Anthony Randolph those minutes!
THE GOOD: J.J. Barea, Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, and Michael Beasley all had very solid performances. Barea will be on the floor during most 4th quarters, and might be just what the Timberwolves needed. He’s got a lot of grit. Williams will provide the team with the most athletism than they possibly have ever seen. Love and Beasley just did what they always do. You can always count of those two for consistency, and that’s about all you can ask of your best players on the team.
THE BAD: The old man who let his 7 -year old grandson continue to kick our seats throughout the entire first half before for we said something. Have some recognition old man!
THE GOOD: Staying competetive with a Oklahoma City Thunder team that many view as a Top 2 team in the NBA this year. A very encouraging performance from the Timberwolves as they seem to possess the kind of depth and athletism that we haven’t seen in nearly a decade.
THE BAD: The officiating. This coming from a Timberwolves fan, but not a lot of favorable calls for the home team on opening night. We NEED Jesse “The Body” Ventura back for some heckling!
The Timberwolves play the Milwaukee Bucks for the 3rd time in the last two weeks, but this one is the only one that counts. I believe a Johnsonville Brat is in order! The Timberwolves could actually be only a trade away from contending for a playoff spot this season. That’s how promising this team looks right now. The only thing left to Ponder before the game tonight is if I’m going with a Cheddar Brat or a Stadium Brat.