There’s a gloomy inevitability that follows me in to Wolves games this year. You know it all by now, the late-game heroics are lacking, the cheap run-outs are plentiful, the villains are familiar, but the refrain is the worst — for every win over Utah or Denver where the Wolves blow the doors off the competition, there’s a disheartening New Orleans or Portland game that snuffs whatever momentum existed and brings all the possibilities and hopes foolishly conjured and pinned to this team crashing back to the cold, hard ground.
The Rick Adelman belief in the hot hand — his use of J.J. Barea over Ricky Rubio despite all evidence, save a couple made 3s, that Ricky’s impact on his teammates and the game isn’t worth putting him in in late game situations — has repeatedly sapped whatever life I have had as a Wolves fan.
It’s been a lifetime’s worth of disappointment getting to this point, but in the name of self preservation, I’m spent.
The late-game collapses have been touted all season as a lack of clutch, or stones or whatever — never really accepted as a learning or growing process like it would in a more patient (or good) environment or culture — and rightfully so.
The hot Wolves-mess has instead given us the unfounded confident reassurances of company men talking over the constant murmuring, steadily simmering urge to panic in the face of the hot-flashes of trade rumors, every close loss or blown lead, the over-extended, patch-fixes of free agency and Barea flops and flameouts that befit such an addled franchise.
The word salads Flip Saunders has repeatedly employed explaining his thoughts (on anything) have done nothing to dissuade the fears of the future or his inability to grasp them. Meanwhile the man who hired him has done nothing to inspire hope in change.
In a better environment, Ricky Rubio’s shooting would be seen as a chore and last Spring an adult discussion would have been had, involving a plan, a companion and an expectation. Instead Adelman has shown his Mike Bibby-informed preference for a scoring ballhandler and Barea and Adelman, out of the belief that his offense is in such desperate straights only the 5′ 9″ Barea can save it, is coaching from fear due to his personnel — well, due to a number of things, but who has the time?
Kevin Love did his superhuman routine not long ago in New Orleans, fighting for offensive boards and throwing in shots from everywhere on national television. After a Mike Miller moment of pain and near-injury, Love found himself in cherry-picking position and miraculously regained his faculties just in time to attempt to score. Moments later (again, on offense), Love was smacked inadvertently in the face and stumbled back woozily just in time to watch Eric Gordon stroll all the way down the lane and throw it down with two hands within arm’s reach of Love’s would-be defensive-help.
If Love is to eventually escape to L.A. or New York or somehow join forces in OKC, I don’t blame him because it’s his right to save himself — but if his lip-service about the quality foundation or the fun he’s having in Minnesota is anything close to true, he’d do right laying some hard fouls or bodying up some on defense — he’d just be so much more likable and easier to root for as a professional suffering the injustice of buffoonery and classless management.
In such a sludge as the Wolves, you can’t separate the pure elements when they’re all contaminated. The filth ruins all it touches. I mourn the end of the joy of watching Kevin Love learning to dominate, Ricky Rubio’s energy and vision, or Pek’s immovable grace. This is Glen Taylor’s mess. I’m tired of caring more than him and I am done giving pieces of my life to so much carelessness and waste.
Good luck to the survivors. Howl City, out.