Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Foye selected to Rookie All-Star team

From NBA.com:
Toronto Raptors forward Andrea Bargnani, the first overall selection in the 2006 NBA Draft, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Andrew Bogut, the first overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, lead a list of 18 players selected to play in the 2007 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam on Friday, Feb. 16 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas...

Joining Bargnani on the Rookie team this year are the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jordan Farmar, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Randy Foye, the Toronto Raptors’ Jorge Garbajosa, the Memphis Grizzlies’ Rudy Gay, the Utah Jazz’s Paul Millsap, the Charlotte Bobcats’ Adam Morrison, the Portland Trail Blazers’ Brandon Roy and the New Jersey Nets’ Marcus Williams.

Wolves Updates 1/31

Britt Robson/City Pages doesn't fully buy into the theory that Dwane Casey got a "raw deal":
Casey knew what he was getting into and bought into the rose-colored rhetoric, if not the sentiment, flatly stating on the day he was hired that the Wolves should make the playoffs. While McHale's recent trades and free-agent signings have been questionable at best, his last two drafts—Rashad McCants and Bracey Wright in 2005, Randy Foye and Craig Smith in 2006—have been surprisingly strong. And while Casey evinced ongoing improvement as a coach, he still had some glaring weak spots...


From Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune:
Wittman has taken Madsen and Marko Jaric -- two players whose contributions dwindled -- and dusted them off and re-inserted them into the mix, with strong results.


From Gordon Wittenmyer/Pioneer Press:
"Coach Wittman has injected confidence in everybody on this team," Garnett said. "Even the guys that don't play. … I've seen guys sort of get redefined as far as confidence and become a big factor in our winning. It's definitely a shot in the arm."


Jon Krawczynski on Garnett hugging Wittman after Monday's win:
The two are fiery competitors who speak the same language. But the overt gesture by Garnett at the end of the Phoenix game still came as a bit of a surprise considering the all-business relationship he's had with previous coaches in Minnesota.


Maurice Brooks/NBA.com ranks KG at #7 in the "Race to the MVP" and comments on the team:
But if they want to make a deep run into the Western Conference playoffs, the formula for their success is simple: More shot attempts for KG means more wins for the franchise.


Mike Kahn/Fox Sports's list of mid-season awards has McHale tied with Danny Ainge for worst executive of the year.


A preview of tonight's game against the Kings. Justin Reed will be back after missing the last two games because of an illness in the family.

KFAN interviews with Wittman, Hoiberg

Randy Wittman was on the air with Chad Hartman yesterday discussing the win over the Suns, seeing Garnett "evolve," replacing Dwane Casey, and fielding questions from listeners.

Wittman said that after a week straight of good practices, Rashad McCants was "pretty close" to coming back and could possibly play in the upcoming road trip. The coach said he planned to work him in slowly.

Listen:
Part I of Randy Wittman interview
Part II of Randy Wittman interview



Sludge and Lake's interview with Fred Hoiberg later that evening covered some of the same topics along with some joking about the herpes outbreak among state high school wrestlers.

Hoiberg said that McCants could start playing "hopefully in the next week."

About the Feb 22 trade deadline, Hoiberg said the team had been "very active and making calls" and that if something made sense, they'd "pull the trigger."

Listen:
Fred Hoiberg interview

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Updates Part II

SLAM Online talks to Garnett about some of his favorite All-Star game moments.


Stephen Litel/SportsPage Magazine believes Randy Wittman is a good coach for the Wolves because he is the "perfect combination of a strong hand and a guiding hand."


Greg White/Hoopsworld says that like last night, Garnett "just has to bring it more."


Ira Winderman/Sporting News on the dismissal of Dwane Casey.

Wolves Updates 1/30

From Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune:
Wolves coach Randy Wittman said if McCants continues to practice hard without any setbacks in the coming week or two, it will be time to work him into games.

Marko Jaric, who in recent weeks had expressed a desire to be traded, said he feels much happier with the Wolves now that he's been given a bigger role on the team since Wittman became coach.


Garnett on the timing of the coaching change:
"You like those things to be in the beginning or end of the season. But it's part of our game. This is what it is, and we all have to deal with it at some point.''


A Q&A with Wittman that took place before Monday's win. The Pioneer Press also asks Wittman a few questions.


Latrell Sprewell is being sued for $200 million by the mother of four of his children who alleges that the former player "broke their long-term cohabitation deal and roughed her up last month in their Westchester County home."


Post-Game notes and reactions

The 44 points KG scored last night rank second to his career and franchise high of 47 which came against Phoenix in January 2005.


In addition to blogging about Stanford's coach and the school's mascot, Mad Dog talks about the win and, in particular, Coach Mike D'Antoni:

He and I jawed a little bit during the game during a stretch when I was pushing for a technical foul for the Phoenix bench when they really protested a call. He heard me calling out to the officials: "Give them a technical" and then he yelled at me to "just play basketball." It was a little heated for a second then it just died down. I got his point and he was probably right.


Garnett on the game:
"What's important is we knew if we didn't come out and play, this team would embarrass us,'' said Garnett...


Wittman comments before the game:
"I've played in this league, coached in this league, and never faced a team that's won 17 in a row," Wittman said.


Jon Barry/ESPN on how the team broke the Suns' streak:
The Big Ticket, Kevin Garnett, (44 points, 11 boards) was unbelievable. The change in coaches also brings a change in philosophy -- you're seeing more Mark Madsen and Marko Jaric too. Randy Wittman didn't get a fair shake when he was in Cleveland, but he's been there and he's a good coach.


Patrick Reusse/Star Tribune believes that before the victory over the Suns, the "last time the home crowd left downtown Minneapolis with such grand appreciation for Garnett" was during the Western Conference finals.

Labels:

Wolves 121, Suns 112

"Garnett, T'wolves snap Suns' 17-game winning streak"
"That's The Ticket"
"Feeling Minnesota"
"Wolves Sink Suns; End 17-Game Win Streak"


It's not often that the Wolves make front page sports news twice in two weeks. Headlines like the one above are a nice contrast to the recent articles discussing how McHale and the team should be content at .500 (which, incidentally, is where the team now stands).


Whether Phoenix had reached its breaking point because of consecutive wins and long road trips is almost moot. The Wolves, led by Garnett's monster performance which netted 44 points and 11 rebounds, had a good game against a team that had the best record in the league and hadn't lost a single game this year.

Last night's win was a much needed morale booster for both the fans and the team who, after losing just one game in the first part of January, have had to endure the following for the second half:

-a jawdropping loss to the Hawks at the Target Center
-having its star player ejected from a heartbreaking loss to Detroit and given a 1-game suspension
-Ricky Davis leaving the bench during the same game and also being suspended
-firing its head coach and experiencing severe media and fan backlash
-going 1-4 on last week's road trip (including a 101-132 loss to Phoenix)
-not being able to hear what Suns coach D'Antoni said to try and rally his players during last night's 4th quarter timeouts


"It’s tough to lose, but you know we didn’t play that bad today," said two-time defending NBA MVP Nash. "Kevin (Garnett) was amazing. They basically played a great game. I would much rather congratulate them and move on."


"It's just about being a presence," Garnett said. "It's about making them have to deal with me. I will continue to take that approach."


Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune recap

David Brauer/City Pages recap

AP Recap

Box Score


After the game, "Garnett went up to Wittman, smacked him on the chest and yelled in his ear."

"It was heartfelt, letting him know we'll fight for him every night," Garnett said...

"We won it more for him and these fans, probably, than we won it for ourselves."


Monday, January 29, 2007

Wolves Updates 1/29

An actor in the ad describes the Foot Locker commercial featuring Garnett set to air during the Super Bowl:
In the commercial, Woodle plays a person hanging out at the mall with a friend who has just purchased Garnett's brand of shoes from adidas at the Foot Locker. Garnett walks by, notices the pair, and autographs the shoes as well as Woodle's face.


Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press on Randy Wittman's coaching style:
Wittman also demanded more attention and focus during practices and shootarounds. A more serious tone already is being adopted.

He also stressed to his players the importance of knowing their place in the big picture, as it relates to divisional and playoff races...

"I guess he wants us to be aware of that, because it makes you hungry," Garnett said. "When you fall a couple games, you know a team is on your (butt), you know what's at stake. I think more than anything, he wants the young guys to understand what that's all about."



The Philadelphia Inquirer talks to Eddie Griffin's high school coach about the player's current troubles.
"He seems to be a very different person now," says Seddon, in his 22nd season of coaching at Roman Catholic. "I've seen pictures of him and had to do a double take because I didn't recognize him.
"He had that scowl on his face and was trying to look all hard. That was not the Eddie I knew."


Sam Smith/Chicago Tribune on trading for Garnett:
The conventional wisdom around the NBA is the Timberwolves and Garnett will come to some accommodation for a trade this summer if the team, fighting for eighth in the West, doesn't make the playoffs or win a series.

A friend says Garnett doesn't like the idea of starting with another team in midseason, so he won't ask out now. But general managers are saying you cannot offer much because he could leave after next season...


The Wolves will try to break the Suns' 17-game win streak tonight at the Target Center.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wolves Updates 1/28

Garnett is unhappy with his performance in the recent road games:
"I'm not really happy with my play on this whole trip," the Wolves forward had said moments earlier. "I've got to turn it up another notch, take my [game] to the next level. I'm not really pleased with how I'm playing. Trying to get other people [involved], but I need to be a lot more aggressive than what I am. And flow better.
"I'm in no kind of flow like I would like to, going into the [All-Star] break. I've got to get this going."



Mad Dog says he heard about Casey's firing through phonecalls he received from a few writers. About Casey, he says the following:
Dwayne led us through the good and the bad times. Coach Casey knew how to draw up great X and O plays especially late in ballgames when the game was on the line. (San Antonio recent win). I think it was tough for management to release Dwayne also, but ultimately, we as players shoulder a lot of the responsibility for the move. If we had gotten the job done better on the court and won more games the firing would not have happened.

Madsen writes that after last night's win, Garnett "grabbed the game ball and brought it into the locker room to give to Coach Wittman."


Rashad McCants on being suited up for yesterday's game:
I care about the team a lot. That means a lot to me to be in uniform, not behind the bench. That's important to me. Witt understands my position and where I'm at emotionally with the team. To let me do this is an honor.


In an interview with the New York Times, Wolves GM Jim Stack says that the organization hopes Wittman will remain coach for "a long time." On Garnett, Stack says that "we hope he stays and we’re competing for a championship."
Andy Miller, KG's agent, remarks that his player's “brand of loyalty is subject to criticism and conjecture.”


Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune, suggesting they be tracked as an individual stat, looks at the "won-lost records of each player's team or teams":
Just eyeballing the numbers, it might suggest that the Wolves, who were 20-21 (.488) at the time, were about where they should have been, given their players' NBA exposure to winning and losing. Maybe it shows a blunder in building a roster with players who haven't won, then assuming they can win...

Then again, maybe it says nothing of the sort...



Dave D'Alessandro/The Star-Ledger on Dwane Casey's firing:
It's hard not to make the connective premise. This could possibly be the precursor to the long-awaited Garnett deal -- give this badly flawed team one more chance at moving up before they decide that prolonging the mediocrity that has defined the KG era is no longer worth it.


Phoenix coach Mike D"Antoni also comments on Casey:
"He just got them turned around," Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said. "It's like, 'OK, great job, Dwane, we'll take it from here.' "

Wolves 101, Clippers 87

From Britt Robson/City Pages:
A loss tonight would have sent the Wolves three behind .500 and two games in back of the Clips for the 8th and final playoff spot. Instead they are tied for 8th and hold the tie-breaker advantage over the Clips (2-1 in head-to-head competition, which will remain in effect because the teams aren't scheduled together the rest of the season). A loss also would have sent the team back home to a surly crowd, saddled with a 7-game losing streak and looking at a schedule that includes Phoenix next, and Dallas and Houston on the road during their ensuring five games.



AP Recap

Box Score


From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
Then was one more long-term aspect to the game: Wolves guard Rashad McCants was on the active roster, suited up and on the bench for the first time since undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee last June. It was strictly ceremonial -- Wittman told McCants he would not play under any circumstances Saturday night -- as Wittman's way to reward and motivate the second-year shooting guard in the late stages of his rehab.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Updates Part II

From Marc Stein/ESPN:
But Detroit's talks with Minnesota on a Mohammed-for-Marko Jaric swap have ceased, according to NBA front office sources...

on why Coach Casey was fired:
The theory here is backed up by multiple Wolves insiders: Firing the coach was the only big shake-up chip Minnesota was certain it could play this season.

on the Allen Iverson trade:
...according to NBA front office sources, Minnesota quietly believed it was leading the chase before Denver swooped in suddenly on Dec. 19 to deny Kevin Garnett his dream tag-team partner.
The difference, sources say, is that Denver had those two late first-round picks in the deep June draft to include in the deal. The Wolves had no first-round picks this decade to offer and were thus trying to manufacture a first-rounder by sending Ricky Davis to the Bobcats, with Davis' career having started in Charlotte with the Hornets. But Minnesota ran out of time.


on Kevin McHale:
...Minnesota still plans to transfer control of the front office at season's end to Fred Hoiberg, one of KG's all-time favorite teammates. It's conceivable that McHale could elect to stay on for one more season, given how much Taylor loves him...


A preview of tonight's game at the Clippers.

Wolves and Sonics postgame quotes.

Wolves Updates 1/27

KG reacts to the TNT crew's Thursday night rant critiquing the team and suggesting he be traded:
"They ought to have a drug test before they let some of these people on TV, man," Garnett said..."Alcohol tests, see their levels. Everybody has to blow in a Breathalyzer test before you can get on TV."

"Why would somebody say some ... stuff like that," Garnett said, "when you're supposed to be the insight to millions of people watching basketball and you're supposed to be teaching? And you're talking about publicly tanking? C'mon, man.

"People say some unbelievably stupid stuff on TV. That's how I know I can get a job after I'm done with this. Y'know what I'm talking about?"


Randy Wittman on trading KG:
"He ain't going anywhere in my book," Wittman said. "As long as I'm coach here, I'm going to be against any of that. I'll just tell you flat-out. I'll vehemently deny having any part in trading KG. You heard it here first."


Eddie Griffin's reps are "expected to seek arbitration" on the team's attempt to buyout the player's contract.


From Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press:
The Timberwolves explored trade possibilities to take advantage of their $4.2 million trade exception that expired Friday, but in the end nothing was a good fit, general manager Jim Stack said.

Rashad McCants is practicing with no restrictions, and the team remains hopeful he will return in the coming weeks from right knee surgery.


Dan Barreiro/KFAN blogs on last night's loss in Seattle and wonders what the team would have been if they'd "kept Ray Allen rather than swapping him for Marbury."


Garnett remains in the #3 slot of Kelly Dwyer/SI.com's weekly player rankings.


From HoopsWorld's Rumor Mill:
The issues in Minnesota are larger than Casey, but word is the mood in the locker room turned on Casey, and many of the Vets on the roster had openly questioned Casey’s lack of experience as a cause for the losses and lack of consistency.


The Boston Herald on potential preseason games:
Nothing has been set, but if things go as hoped the Celts will play an undetermined opponent (Minnesota is a strong possibility) in London.

Wolves 100, Sonics 102

From Britt Robson/City Pages:
For the second straight game under new coach Randy Wittman, the Wolves dropped a winnable game, losing to the Sonics 100-102 after being up 5 with 71 seconds to play. Consequently, Wittman left himself wide open to second-guessing on at least two substitution decisions.


Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune recap

Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press recap

AP Recap

Box Score



'It was a good win for them and they earned,' Wittman said. 'Hopefully we can learn to win close games.'

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Dwane Casey interview

Dwane Casey was on KFAN with PA and Dubay this morning, calling in from his home in Seattle. You can listen to the interview here.

Among the topics Casey talked about:

His firing:
-"inconsistency" given as the explanation
-how he did not believe the players or his relationship with them had anything to do with his dismissal


His job performance:
-he thought he'd been growing as a coach
-mistakes and growing pains are expected when hiring a young coach
-said there wasn't one day he didn't think of or do something to improve the team
-said that the bottom line is that at the end of the day, the team was in the running for the playoffs and that's what he was expected to do
-said he didn't feel like he was given enough time
-on asked if it was unfair that he was fired, Casey said he didn't believe in "fair or unfair" in pro-sports


On Randy Wittman:
-Casey and Wittman had a long meeting when he was brought back in which Wittman assured him he had no desire to take over his position.
-Casey said he doesn't buy into the "conspiracy theory" that Wittman was hired to eventually replace him
-said he felt that Wittman was "an excellent replacement"
-said he doesn't understand talk of a "new system" being put into place because Wittman and the staff were already putting a lot of work into the team


Support recieved:
-Concerned phonecalls from the whole team and some staff
-25-26 coaches, assistant coaches, and GMs in the league expressing concern and telling him they thought the team was going in the right direction


Future plans:
-had calls about joining "different benches in the league" but isn't ready yet
-wants to coach again, but taking a "wait and see" approach
-watching tonight's Wolves/Sonics game on tv

Labels:

Wolves Updates 1/26

From the Detroit News Weblog:
The trade between the Pistons and Timberwolves isn't dead, like I said the other day. It's been put on the backburner while the Timberwolves sort out their mess (new coach, Eddie Griffin getting axed, etc.). Marko Jaric has been the name normally associated with the deal for Nazr Mohammed, but there has also been discussion about Troy Hudson, who has one less year on his contract than Jaric and has been much more productive than Jaric.


From Chris Mannix/SI.com:
...according to a league source, Minnesota reached out to former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy as recently as a month ago.


Garnett's upcoming trip to Vegas will mark his 10th All-Star appearance.


Steve Aschburner discusses how the team has yet to develop a "winning culture."

One year later, Aschburner also breaks down the trade with the Celtics and decides that the Wolves got the better end of the deal.


Sonics' coach Bob Hill talks about Randy Wittman and facing the Wolves tonight in Seattle.


From Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press:
Wittman's authoritative style might put those players in place and get them in line. But if Wittman doesn't carefully manage his players, his personality might clash with some of his players, as it did in Cleveland when he was the coach there from 1999 to 2001, when he went 62-102.


The Pioneer Press and Star Tribune give midseason reviews of each player.


From The Star Tribune:
According to Forbes, the Wolves' value rose 2 percent over last year, the third-lowest franchise value increase in the league.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Garnett Named 2007 NBA All-Star

The starters for the 2007 NBA All-Star game were announced today and Garnett will be part of the action.

KG led all Western Conference forwards in the balloting with 1,616,575 votes received.

Garnett interview with John Thompson

NBA.com features video of John Thompson's recent interview with Garnett. Thompson asks Garnett if he thinks this is his best season, what his expectations were coming into the league, how it is playing in the All-Star game, and if he regrets remaining with the Wolves.

Thompson also has KG watch part of the infamous "I hate to lose" interview to get his take on it now. Garnett reiterates the sentiment, but this time does so without the tears.

Wolves Updates 1/25

Britt Robson/City Pages discusses last night's loss:
One of the things Casey seemed to struggle with was drawing up successful plays coming out of a timeout. Tonight, the Wolves scored 8 times (seven baskets and 2 free throws) in 12 offensive possessions coming out of a timeout, with Davis's 4 buckets leading the way.


From Charley Walters/Pioneer Press:
Casey's dismissal as Wolves coach was not solely McHale's decision. Taylor and others in the front office made the decision after a conference call, and Taylor approved it.

...Meanwhile, the Wolves continue to investigate deals before the Feb. 22 trade deadline, especially with the return soon of guard Rashad McCants. Guards Troy Hudson and Marko Jaric are expected to be dealt.


Owner Glen Taylor on whether Kevin McHale would return next season:
"Let's wait and see," Taylor said. "These things (firing coach Dwane Casey on Tuesday) are tough on Kevin. This isn't something he likes to do."


According to AdRants.com, Garnett will be in a Foot Locker commercial shown during the Super Bowl.


Greg Anthony/ESPN lists his top 5 rookies and ranks Randy Foye at #2, with Brandon Roy at the top.


Rob Babcock's son, Nate, talks about growing up around basketball and the NBA.


Martin Johnson/The New York Sun suggests that in order to avoid "becoming the tallest martyr in the sports world," Garnett should buy the team.

Continued league and media support for Dwane Casey

From Charley Walters/Pioneer Press:
Casey, 49, said Wednesday he received numerous calls of support from coaches and general managers within the NBA, as well as a 10-minute message from Wolves star Kevin Garnett, who said he enjoyed playing for him and wished that it could have been longer. Casey said each of the Wolves players called him.


Sid Hartman, who believes the firing "shouldn't have happened," also relays the following:
Casey said he believed his fate was decided when Kevin Garnett got kicked out of Friday's double-overtime loss to Detroit, and Ricky Davis walked off the court...


According to Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press, Coach Nate McMillan "told Portland reporters he would like to have Casey join the Trail Blazers in some capacity down the road."


Jim Souhan/Star Tribune on Dwane Casey:
Casey should regard the firing as a reprieve. No longer will he shoulder blame for the incessant mistakes made by McHale and his unconditional friend Taylor.


Coach Karl comments on Casey's firing:
"Point blank, it's a business," said Nuggets head coach George Karl. "But it's wrong - simple as that, given that short a period of time. It's too short a period of time (to judge)."

Reactions to new coach Randy Wittman

From Charley Walters/Pioneer Press:
Casey's successor, Randy Wittman, already is signed beyond this season and probably for the ensuing two years. A new contract for him as head coach will be addressed later, but it's clear that Wittman will remain as head coach heading into the 2007-80 season.


From Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press:
Wittman's direct communication and approach could be a strength in Minnesota, though it was perceived by some Cleveland Cavaliers players as a detriment during his two seasons as the coach there.

"He wants us to be, you know, less joking around and more serious," forward Craig Smith said of Wittman. "He wants us to be game ready."


KG on Wittman as coach:
"I think Randy would tell you things to get you going and what we say 'keep it all the way real,' " Garnett said. "Sometimes players need that. Randy's real straightforward, not in a negative way. He's very good at getting you to recognize when something's wrong, if you don't want to recognize it yourself. That's A to Z, myself all the way through the rookies."


Marko Jaric wants a coach who will show him some love:
"At least somebody else, a new person, is in the coaching job," Jaric said. "So you say, 'I might -- I might -- get a chance.' We'll see. I am open-minded and I am ready. But I've learned so far that I can't trust anybody. Everybody's saying how much they love you, how much they need you. I say, you know what, show me how much you love me. So we'll see."


Casey on his feeling towards Wittman:
"Oh, no, no, Randy had nothing to do with it," Casey said. "He was a great assistant. He did a great job for me. He's loyal and everything. So, no, he'll do a good job.


Bobby Knight on Randy Wittman:
"You could make a comparison that Krzyzewski understood what I wanted done and how we wanted to play, and therefore, I think Randy has a great understanding of what it takes to win and what causes you to lose," Knight said. "Those are the most important ingredients a coach can have, is understanding what it takes to win and what you've got to eliminate to keep from losing.

Wolves 98, Blazers 101 OT

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
Successful all night in running plays at the end of quarters, the Wolves got one last chance with 12.3 seconds left in the extra session, trailing 99-98. But Ricky Davis fired from 23 feet out on the right wing with eight seconds to spare. Portland's Zach Randolph got fouled and hit both free throws, and the Wolves hurried downcourt in search of a three-pointer. Kevin Garnett launched one from out front but it hit off the back rim.


"I felt these guys deserved to walk out of the building with a win tonight," Wittman said.


AP Recap

Box Score


Zach Randolph on the "roaches" comment Ricky Davis made in a game at Portland earlier in the season:
"Ricky talks a lot," Randolph laughed.


Garnett Milestone

Garnett became the 5th player in league history to accumulate 18,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 4000 assists after getting an assist in the the first quarter of last night's game at Portland.

The players ahead of him in this elite group are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Charles Barkley, Wilt Chamberlain and Karl Malone.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

More local response to Dwane Casey dismissal

Casey' firing inspired Fire McHale.com to make some t-shirts.


Randy Shaver/KARE 11 talks to Garnett, Ricky Davis, about Casey and asks Trent Hassell what he thought led to the firing (click here for video):
"I have no clue," said Trenton Hassell. "I thought he was doing everything right."


10,000 Takes breaks down the roster which Casey was expected to coach.


Stephen Litel/SportsPage Magazine with his take on Wittman has head coach:
When players begin to call their head coach "Anti-Freeze," stemming from a player getting hot, yet nevertheless being pulled from the game, it showed that he had lost his team. Unfortunate as the firing is, as Dwane Casey is a fine person, Wittman's promotion is likely what is best for the team.

Sonics respond to Dwane Casey news

Henry at True Hoop links to an article from Sonics' play-by-play broadcaster David Locke in which Locke says he finds Casey's firing "hard to believe."

True Hoop also points out a post from Seattle Weekly's Mike Seely that has the writer calling for Casey to replace Sonics' coach Bob Hill asap.


Hill says about Casey:
"Maybe ownership and management thought they should be better than that. I don't know. On the surface, is it fair? No. I am sure he was working hard and he was a good coach."

Sonics' Ray Allen reacts to the news:
"It's tough because Casey's always been a good guy and he deserved to be a head coach in this league," Sonics guard Ray Allen said. "You hate to see that for him. But underneath, what went on or goes on, we don't know what type of relationship he had with his players. And they lost four in a row. It's unfortunate in sports. But he'll still coach, obviously."

It's sort of like college," Allen said. "It all depends on the situation. The question is whether Minnesota was a good job. Flip Saunders was there for a long time and they won but they never really went deep. I think everybody in that situation looks for someone to blame, and it's usually the head coach."


The News Tribune talks to some of the Sonics about the firing:
That seemed to be the consensus, that internal problems with the organization must have been brewing because on the surface Casey did not seem to deserve to be fired, even though the Wolves – who visit the Sonics on Friday – have lost four in a row and the team recently suspended Ricky Davis for leaving the bench in the middle of a game.

Wolves Updates 1/24

From Jon Krawczynski/AP:
McHale said he was asked to take the job again this time, presumably by owner Glen Taylor, but declined. He said having Wittman already on staff, who was brought on as an assistant from Orlando before the season to help Casey with X's and O's and game management, made it easier to fire Casey.


From Charley Walters/Pioneer Press:
McHale, who has a handshake deal with Taylor for $1 million a year, was asked his status — whether he plans to stay or leave or for how long — with the team.
"I've got no status," was all McHale would say.



From Chris McCosky/Detroit News Pistons Weblog:
That said, I can tell you, for sure, Dumars has NOT talked to Golden State (at all, about any player) or San Antonio (at all). Dumars has not talked to New Jersey about acquiring Jason Collins, either, which was reported last week. He has talked to Minnesota about a Nazr Mohammed-Marko Jaric deal, which isn't dead but on the backburner right now. He has also made inquiries about Mo Peterson and Bonzi Wells. There are certainly others that he has looked into that I haven't caught wind of yet...


From Charley Walters/Pioneer Press:
The Timberwolves could trade guards Marko Jaric and Troy Hudson to Golden State and Detroit, respectively, but haven't been willing.


Dance team member Sally was selected by fans to represent her fellow Wolves dancers in this year's NBA All-Star events.


A preview of tonight's game at Portland.

Garnett, Flip, and local media on Casey and Wittman

McHale on the decision to fire Casey:
"It had been discussed off and on," McHale said. "Every time you thought, well, geez, I just don't know if this is going to go, we'd turn around and win three or four. 'All right, here we go again. We got something going.' Then we'd turn around and lose three or four in a row... . 'What the hell? Where are we at?' "


Garnett on Casey's dismissal:
The focus is us winning. Not taking steps back. Let this motivate us. Coaches get you ready, they set the game plan, but players win games. "We feel a sense of responsibility in ourselves. When someone in the family leaves, it's not one person, it's on everybody."

Garnett on Randy Wittman as interim coach:
Within the pecking order, you have certain limits. Case, we all understand, was the captain of the boat. Now he's moved on. Maybe Randy can see some other things that he can include, not just on offense but in the game, period, and he can now voice those opinions.

Garnett also said about Wittman:
I think he'll be a real good fit for this team. Not in a negative way, but he's real straight forward.


Flip Saunders weighs in on the firing:
"The next Timberwolves coach better look out when he goes to Utah," Flip Saunders, who previously held the job, joked in a telephone interview Tuesday. Saunders had lost a game in Salt Lake City on Feb. 11, 2005, then was fired the next day after 10 seasons and eight consecutive playoff appearances.


Dan Barreiro also blogs about it:
The 600 First Avenue Country Club, an elite, snobby and dysfunctionally inbred group, is alive and well: Glen Taylor (owner), Kevin McHale (vice president), Randy Wittman (head coach), Kevin Garnett (superstar) and Rob Babcock (front office), not to mention Glen Taylor's sons-in-law.
The always-classy, dignified, Dwane Casey got booted out the back door.


Patrick Reusse thinks Casey was fired because McHale wanted a "tactician" in the role of head coach.


Tom Powers and Bob Sansevere both write on how Coach Casey was not the problem with the team.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bucher on potential Jaric/Nazr trade

Matt at Detroit Bad Boys writes on an ESPN2 report from this evening:
Take it with a grain of salt, but ESPN talking head Ric Bucher just said on ESPN2's NBA Coast-to-Coast that the Timberwolves are "ready to deal Marko Jaric to the Pistons for Nazr Mohammed, but they're waiting until they're able to revoke Eddie Griffin's contract" in order to avoid paying the luxury tax, which is a mandate from owner Glen Taylor...

I'm not sure if Bucher has sources that verify the Pistons and Timberwolves actually have a real deal in place that will become official once Griffin is off the books, or if he just meant the T'Wolves would be that much more inclined to pursue such a trade with Griffin gone, but it's something to watch for.

Reactions to Dwane Casey's firing

KFAN's Dan Barreiro refers to Dwane Casey's dismissal as "morally speaking, the most gutless, pathetic, off the charts, inexcusable moment in sports history in this town." Barreiro focuses his disgust on Kevin McHale and owner Glen Taylor. It is a must listen to segment and you can do so by clicking here.

You can also listen to Barreiro try to narrow down McHale and Taylor's top 5 biggest blunders which he believes to be the following:
1) Joe Smith, 2) Mike James, 3) Ndudi Ebi, 4) Marko Jaric, 5) William Avery


WCCO provides video of McHale's press conference on firing the coach for a team that he feels is playoff bound. McHale stated that "the success of the team starts with me and ends with me." He also says, "we'll be looking at possibly some roster moves and some other stuff."

Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune on the press conference:
The unmistakable sense McHale gave was that he'd been thinking about this for a while, riding the roller coaster with a team that could do a complete 180 in only four quarters.


Britt Robson/City Pages calls Casey "a class act, a man of enormous personal dignity" and says that he had "gotten a team with .500 personnel to play .500 basketball. "


Can't Stop The Bleeding posts an article in which WCCO's Mike Max says a source told him Casey was fired because "he lost the team." The source also tells Max that "Kevin McHale did not endorse Casey to be the head coach when he was hired."


John Hollinger/ESPN believes Casey's firing is "one of the season's more puzzling events":
Can anyone remember the last time a coach took a team that was expected to be lottery-bound, had them at .500 and in line for a playoff spot at the halfway point of the season in a very tough conference, and got fired anyway?


Lang Whitaker/SLAM Online comments on the firing:
A couple of weeks ago I was talking with someone familiar with the inner-workings of the NBA and was told that Dwane Casey probably wouldn’t last much longer in Minnesota. I was told he was nearly released a few weeks back, but then the Wolves went on a 10-3 run to ring in the New Year.

McHale's statement on Casey

From the Timberwolves site:
"We started the season with certain goals and expectations that have not been met," said Vice President of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. "We've struggled with being consistent throughout the year and ultimately that's the head coach's responsibility. I want to thank Dwane for his hard work and commitment to this team, and wish him well."


According to the release, Randy Wittman will "take over the head coaching duties for the remainder of the 2006-07 NBA season."

"We believe that Randy Wittman will provide our team with a different voice to get us jump-started and going in the right direction," said McHale. "Randy is a known quantity who has a great amount of experience in the NBA. He's been an assistant coach, a player and a head coach in the league."

Dwane Casey confirms his firing

From ESPN:
"I've been in basketball 29 years, and this is going to be my first time out of basketball," Casey told ESPN.com's Chris Sheridan. "But you understand what you're getting into when you enter this business."

"I'm not bitter," Casey told Sheridan. "It's a situation where today we're in the playoffs. I'm proud that I've given them a lot of hard days' work and never shortchanged them."

Casey thought the "trigger games" were an embarrassing blowout on their home court Jan. 17 at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks and the Jan. 19 double-overtime home loss to the Detroit Pistons, a game in which guard Ricky Davis was seen leaving the court, apparently irritated that he had been benched, and star forward Kevin Garnett was ejected after instigating a fight with the Pistons' Antonio McDyess...

The Timberwolves are in Portland, where the news was delivered to Casey by team executives Jim Stack and Fred Hoiberg. Casey also spoke with McHale...



Before Casey's dismissal, Chris Sheridan wrote an article on the current top coaching candidates. He listed Randy Wittman at #8:
Casey's lead assistant for Minnesota, he is on his third tour of duty as a Timberwolves assistant. If Casey is let go, Wittman is assumed to be the man who would take over -- even though owner Glen Taylor is said to have told Wittman last summer he was not being hired as a coach-in-waiting.

ESPN: Coach Casey fired

ESPN is reporting the Coach Casey has been fired:
If the season ended today, the Minnesota Timberwolves would sneak into the playoffs, but that didn't save head coach Dwane Casey. Riding a four-game losing streak that dropped their record to 20-20, the Wolves fired Casey on Tuesday and named Randy Wittman interim coach.

Update:
Here's a link to the ESPN story.

Wolves Updates 1/23

Britt Robson/City Pages talks about Coach Casey's pregame comments on Ricky Davis:
It is this overmassaging of Davis's ego that worries me about Casey, especially occurring just one game after the coach fell on his sword claiming it was his decision for Davis not to the play the rest of the way against Detroit. Davis won't be sufficiently motivated or appreciative of his coach claiming he possesses a team spirit equivalent to Garnett, and the rest of us know it's bullshit.


Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press on the team's feelings on Troy Hudson:
Still, his teammates know his worth. Kevin Garnett has made several public appeals for Hudson to get more playing time in recent weeks.
Foye said that when he makes a good play, it's almost as if Hudson made the play because he has been so involved in teaching Foye the game.




Mad Dog is "upset" that McDyess wasn't fined for knocking him down:
"I look at the precedent that is being set here: You can extend [a forearm] hard at the head and neck, and that's only a 'T.' It is what it is if they're going to allow that stuff to happen."


Stephen Litel at Wolves Hoops Blog is talking to assistant coach Bob Ociepka after every game this week.


Randy Foye is at #3 in this week's rookie rankings on NBA.com. In the overall standings, Foye remains at #4 while Craig Smith moves up a notch to #9.


A day in the life of our favorite Wolves dance team member, Ginger.

Reactions to KG's suspension

Nuggets coach George Karl is not happy that the league gave Garnett a one-game suspension because of the penalties some of his players received for the fight at MSG:
"I just thought it was kind of unique that everything that J.R. and 'Melo were blamed for, Kevin Garnett did in the same incident. He escalated a fight, he threw a punch, he threw a ball and gets one game. It was kind of a unique interpretation. I know it's a hard job, but no, it doesn't feel like it was a fair evaluation."


Antonio McDyess on the matter:
"I thought he should have had more, honestly," McDyess said. "Before the season, I thought they said throwing the ball at an opponent was like throwing a punch. He got one game, but I thought it should have been two."


Marc J. Spears/Denver Post believes that if Garnett's swing had actually connected with McDyess, his penalty "would have been different." He also says that KG's "humorous punch attempt" wasn't "in the same level of Melo."

Wolves 91, Jazz 106

From Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press:
Monday night's performance exposed the Wolves yet again as they lost 106-91 to the division-leading Utah Jazz, stretching Minnesota's losing streak to four games as the team fell seven games out of the Northwest lead. The Wolves' hot streak is long gone.
In all four losses, the Wolves gave up at least 100 points, although Detroit needed double overtime to get there Friday.
The defensive erosion has set in again with this team — the Wolves gave up 105 points to the Atlanta Hawks to start the losing streak — and that's just the latest symptom of the inconsistency the Wolves have shown this season.



AP Recap

Box Score


Kevin Garnett on the loss:
"Some nights we just make it hard on ourselves," Garnett said. "We move the ball and pass the ball -- it seems easy. Other nights, when we play selfish and we don't do the things we're supposed to do, we look bad. [On defense] selfishness is not helping each other on 'D.' Not being connected.
"We've got to get something [going]. The West is too deep, too good, for us to be losing games like this."

Monday, January 22, 2007

Carnival Of The NBA #40- The Bill Laimbeer Edition

Matt and Ian at Detroit Bad Boys did an amazing job as hosts of the latest edition of the Carnival of the NBA so make sure to check it out.

Wolves Updates 1/22

Fred Hoiberg on Rashad McCants' status:
"He's doing 5-on-5, he's back to where we think he needs to be," Hoiberg said. "... We expect Rashad to be back hopefully within the next couple weeks."


Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press with Garnett's comments on Friday night's incident:
Garnett said if the same situation occurred, he’d do it again, no doubt referring to sticking up for his teammate.
“If we did it again, we’d do it again,” Garnett said, declining to comment further.


Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune on KG's suspension:
This was the first suspension of Garnett's 12-year career. But his past three ejections all have involved tosses of the basketball.
The Wolves' All-Star forward was thrown out of a game at Utah in November 2003 and, before he exited, fired the ball high into the Delta Center stands. Last February, Garnett was ejected from a game against Memphis at Target Center when he tossed the ball past the baseline in frustration and it accidentally hit a fan sitting near the basket.



Tayshaun Prince on McDyess' shove:
"I talked to Madsen afterward," Prince said, "and it was just a play when Dice threw him down, but he didn't think anything of it. Mad Dog don't take anything personal or nothing like that."


Ricky Davis on walking out of Friday night's game:
“I just made a mistake,” Davis said. “I got a little heated. It happens. They suspended me. I’m just going to keep moving on with it.”
“The only thing that hurts me is that I let my teammates down. That’s something you can’t do. I talked to each one of them individually.”


Coach Casey on his relationship with Ricky Davis:
Casey said no rift exists between him and Davis, though he acknowledged he has had words with Davis in the past, but that's no different than exchanges with other players.


Marc J. Spears/Denver Post on the battle to win the Northwest Division.


The Chicago Sun-Times asked some area high school basketball coaches what local players they wished they could have coached. Garnett was the only player to be selected by all the coaches.

Wolves 102, Suns 131

From Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune:
So with Randy Foye getting the first start of his NBA career in Davis' spot and reserve Justin Reed standing in for Garnett, the surprise in this one was that Minnesota was within 58-51 at halftime and even led briefly, 39-37, early in the second quarter. That all changed after the intermission, when the Suns (32-8) -- winners of 13 in a row -- ran off 46 points, pumping their lead to 104-71. That's more points than the Wolves had given up in 29 entire games this season, including four overtime games.


AP Recap

Box Score


The Timberwolves stayed close by making 8-of-11 3-pointers in the first half. Foye was 4-for-5 and Hudson 3-for-4. Hudson played in just his second game since Jan. 3 and may have earned himself some more playing time, Casey said.

"In this league, it's all about getting the opportunity to play," Hudson said. "I've just been keeping myself ready, working on my game, coming before and staying after practice. This is a long season. With my experience, 10 years in the league, I know it will always come back around."

After sitting out tonight because of their suspensions, both Garnett and Ricky Davis will be back for tomorrow's game at Utah.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Garnett receives one game suspension

From ESPN:
Kevin Garnett was suspended one game by the NBA on Sunday for throwing a punch at Detroit's Antonio McDyess.
Garnett won't play Sunday night when Minnesota visits the Phoenix Suns. He leads the Timberwolves with 22.2 points and 12.8 rebounds per game.

Wolves Updates 1/21

Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press on Eddie Griffin:
McHale said it was unlikely Griffin would join the team on the road. He said the organization is still evaluating Griffin's status but that a decision could be reached "within days, not weeks."

On the KG/McDyess situation, Alonzo says "the team was still awaiting word from the NBA regarding Garnett's status and a probable suspension..."


A preview of tonight's game at Phoenix sans Davis but hopefully with Garnett.


Kelly Dwyer/SI.com lists Garnett at #3 in his weekly player rankings.


Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune ranks the top 10 point guards in the team's history. Aschburner also writes about Steve Nash's pre-draft workout with the Wolves.


From Sid Hartman:
It was just a matter of time before there was going to be a public confrontation between Wolves coach Dwane Casey and second-leading scorer Ricky Davis. Some people close to the organization have reported the relationship between two has been anything but good.


McHale comments on Ricky Davis' behavior in the Pistons' game:
"I've seen it happen a million different times," McHale said of Davis' display. "Everybody gets frustrated. [But] you just can't have that happen. There are certain things that are just out of bounds. And one of them is you have to be ready to go out and play, have a clear head and be ready any time the coach calls on you."


Chauncey Billups on playing against the Wolves:
"Oh, I like playing against this team, especially because of [Kevin Garnett], you know we always talk a lot of stuff ... it's all about bragging rights with me and him so I love playing in games like this." About leaving the Wolves to sign with the Pistons, where he has turned into a star, Billups said, "No, it wasn't my intention, [but I'm] glad I did it now."


From Charley Walters/Pioneer Press:
Timberwolves guard Rashad McCants, recovered from knee surgery, said he could play today if necessary.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Updates Part II

In his latest blog post, Mad Dog talks about last night's scuffle and says he's "in pain because Kevin Garnett got ejected." Madsen also addresses the Ricky Davis "issue":
There are no issues with Ricky Davis or any sort of incident that is being speculated upon.


Mutoni/NBA Fanhouse and Charley Rosen/Fox Sports with their takes on the KG/McDyess altercation.


Stephen Litel/Sportspage Magazine writes on Ricky Davis' actions during the game and says that "what is most telling about Davis and his inability to be professional was proven before the fourth quarter was set to begin."


Dan Barreiro/KFAN believes the "Davis development is a good litmus test for team leader Garnett."


Eddie Griffin did not practice with the team today.

Ricky Davis suspended

According to the Pioneer Press, Davis won't be playing in Sunday's game at Phoenix:

Timberwolves veteran Ricky Davis will be suspended one game for his actions during Friday night's game against the Detroit Pistons, Wolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale announced Saturday afternoon.

Davis refused to re-enter the game against Detroit during the third quarter. Earlier, he had been substituted out of the game in favor of Randy Foye and temporarily left the court and went to the locker room before being convinced to return.

Davis will miss Sunday's game at Phoenix. McHale said there would be no further discipline by the team.

Coach Dwane Casey said that Davis apologized to teammates Saturday morning.

Wolves Updates 1/20

On Eddie Griffin's status with the team:
Owner Glen Taylor said before the game that a decision on Griffin's status would be made next week, whether the Timberwolves issue their own suspension or release him from the roster.
"My guess is it would be the latter," Taylor said.


Coach Casey said Griffin would be practicing with the team today but the player would have to "work his way back into the playing rotation."


The Pioneer Press has some of the questions KG was asked in the Jan/Feb issue of Dime Magazine:
On whether the window has closed for him winning an NBA championship: "I don't know, I don't really think about it. But options come up. It's up to me to explore some of those options. … I don't feel like I'm the problem. If I'm the problem, then obviously get rid of the problem. I always think of myself as the solution. So I've never been willing to just move or go to another option. There's no guarantee that when you take another option that it is guaranteed (to make it better)."


Chris Webber referred to Garnett as his "favorite player in the league." On not signing with the Wolves, Webber says:
"But the situation just wasn't good. I wanted to be on a team that had been there before, a team that was really seasoned. Not that this team isn't good.
"And also, they told me I'd have to play behind [Mark] Blount. I respect him, but I would have came here to play with KG."


Michigan Live on Marko Jaric:
It's no secret that the Pistons are considering trading Mohammed. One of the teams that's in the mix is tonight's opponent, Minnesota. The Timberwolves would like to unload Marko Jaric, whose contract is similar to Mohammed's in terms of years remaining (four) and total value. It is unclear how interested Minnesota is in Mohammed, who has four years and about $25 million left on the contract he signed with Detroit last summer.

According to ESPN, Coach Casey said that Jaric would return for Sunday's game in Phoenix.


From the Detroit Free Press:
McDyess said he also had a courtside fan try to start something with him. The fan used a racial slur, among other expletives.
"If we get fined, and he says that," McDyess said, "you've got to throw the fan out of the game."



Randy Foye and KG on the rookie's bobblehead:
"It's not too good. It's a lot darker than me," he said. "That's my main thing. It should at least be my complexion."

"I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing, especially when the thing don't even look like him," Garnett said.


Foye and Craig Smith helped make and serve meals to families at the Ronald McDonald House in Mpls on Thursday.

Ricky Davis Drama

Britt Robson/City Pages on what happened after Ricky Davis was taken out of the game in favor of Randy Foye:
...Davis appeared about the bolt from the bench and head for the locker room, only to be pulled back by a teammate going back to his days in Boston, Justin Reed. As he lingered with tense body language, Bracey Wright came over and wrapped an arm around his waist and talked to him. These things deterred him for a moment, but just before play was resumed as the Wolves took to the court, Davis walked along the baseline and out the middle aisle toward the locker room. Assistant coach Rex Kalamian and then Reed soon followed. Within a few minutes, all three returned individually, with Davis the last of the trio to come back.

After listening to Coach Casey's explanation on the situation, Robson said he still felt like he was "being spun."


Steve Aschburner on what Justin Reed said to Davis:
"I told him, 'A lot of guys get unhappy,'" Reed said. "But it's between him and the coach."

Witnesses close to the bench said Davis refused to go back into the game. Casey said that didn't matter anyway - Davis, who finished with five points in 23 minutes, no longer had the option because the coach decided to stick with others.

"I just decided not to play him. I have that right," Casey said. "I didn't like his focus coming out in the third quarter. ... I decided to go with guys who were competing."


According to Patrick Reusse/Star Tribune, after the game, Ricky Davis "headed down the corridor within three minutes of the Wolves' arrival in the home locker room."

Post-scuffle reactions

If you haven't already seen it, Need4Sheed has video of the incident between Garnett and McDyess during last night's game.


Flip Saunders on whether he though the players would be suspended for their actions in last night's game:
"No. Not at all. I can't see that happening."


Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune with his take on possible penalties:
A fine is almost certain, a suspension probable, although coach Dwane Casey did some postgame damage control.

"I don't think it was a fight. It was more of a commotion afterwards than a skirmish," Casey said. "It's tough to lose your leader like that, but you win together, you lose together."


The game recap at the Timberwolves site says the incident was "at its simplest a man sticking up for his teammate."
(In the same article, Randy Foye refers to Garnett as "Big Fella.")

Friday, January 19, 2007

Wolves 98, Pistons 104 2OT

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
When Kevin Garnett can get tossed out for fighting with barely five minutes left in the fourth quarter of a tie game, against a formidable Eastern Conference contender the Wolves beat in OT just four days earlier, and when the teammates he left behind can hang in seven of the extra 10 minutes the teams stitched onto the clock, the sort of complacency and casualness they showed in their last performance were nowhere in sight.


AP Recap

Box Score


Where the hell was Ricky Davis?
Davis, who had five points in 23 minutes, looked peeved when he was replaced by Foye during a third-quarter timeout. Davis left for the locker room, and assistant coach Rex Kalamian came after him. Casey and James both claimed Davis had to visit the bathroom. He was back on the bench later in the period, but James and teammate Justin Reed were each seen giving him pep talks.
"I didn't like his focus," Casey said, adding that he didn't think about putting Davis -- the team's second-leading scorer -- back in again.


On the fracas:
"I know they can win without me. I don't think they can win without K.G.," said McDyess, who appeared to start the angry tangle by knocking Mark Madsen over with a forearm shiver while they maneuvered for rebound position with 5:18 remaining in regulation and the score tied.

"Everyone in this locker room is behind Kevin Garnett 100 percent," Madsen said.

Garnett ejected for fighting

There were early signs that tonight was not going to be the usual game at Target Center. In no particular order:
1) The game was being broadcast on ESPN
2) Bobbleheads for free and cheap t-shirts for sale that said "I like Craig" and "I like Randy."
3) Pyrotechnics during the player introductions
4) Bill Russell was in the house!
5) The dance team had new routines
6) "Flip 2 The U" signs in the crowd
7) Attendance was near or at capacity
8) The Pistons were trying to avenge their OT loss from Monday's matchup
9) The two teams were neck and neck throughout the whole game


The above items led to heightened intensity and excitement in an arena that's not normally accustomed to such emotions. Perhaps the following was a result of these things (Need4Sheed has video of the incident):

Minnesota's Kevin Garnett chucked a dead ball at Detroit's Antonio McDyess in the fourth quarter with the Timberwolves and Pistons tied at 70 Friday night, leading to an angry tangle and technical fouls and ejections for both players.

McDyess gave a forearm shiver to knock over Minnesota's Mark Madsen while they were underneath the basket jockeying for position on a rebound. Garnett got mad and fired the ball at McDyess, who charged at him with his fist cocked.

Garnett retreated, but was also ready to throw a punch. No blows were thrown, and teammates and officials stayed between the two to prevent any serious trouble.


It'd be ridiculous to place the blame for this on ESPN for broadcasting the game and making team operations go to great lengths to shape the environment for purposes of the tv audience. Regardless, I just couldn't imagine this happening at a game like Wednesday's against the Hawks where there was nothing but fatigue and disgust among the few fans at the game.

Wolves Updates 1/19

Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune sits down for an interview with Coach Casey. A few of the subjects talked about include the Coach's new wife, responding to criticism, the team's inconsistency, his coaching style, and rumors about him being fired.


Mad Dog conducts Q&As with Mark Blount and Craig Smith.
Smith is asked about his role models and names his mom as the "ultimate" one:
The funny thing is she taught me the game of basketball. She used to play for Dorsey High School when she was younger. She played a lot of street ball. She wasn’t intimidated by anybody. She was a lefty. The funny thing is I didn’t beat her until I was 12 years old. I never forgot that day...I didn’t let her score. I was so focused in on beating her. After I won, she said, “Now you take that on the court and use it against your opponent.”


Stephen Litel says that immediately before Wednesday's loss to the Hawks, the atmosphere in the Wolves' locker room was "loose and unmotivated."


USA Today on Mark Blount:
If he maintains his 13.1 season average, Blount would be the highest-scoring center in the history of the franchise.


Charley Rosen/Fox Sports rates the Wolves as one of the league's "average" teams:
Like Minnesota, who will someday have to admit that while Kevin Garnett is a superstar, his lightweight game is also part of the team's problem. Indeed, it's only KG's presence that lifts the one-dimensional games of Mike James and Ricky Davis into solid mediocrity.


A preview of tonight's game against Detroit.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Wolves Updates 1/18

The Orange Roundie is back in "An American Roundie in America."


KG, Trent Hassell, T-Hud, Mike James, and Mad Dog went to Way Cool Cooking School on Tuesday to teach kids effected by diabetes how to make healthy meals.


Britt Robson/City Pages reviews last night's game:
Bottom line, the Wolves were arrogant and lazy tonight and consequently had their asses handed to them by a pretty bad team.


KG after the loss to the Hawks:
"We have to leave this one in here and get ready for Detroit," Garnett said. "That's what it is. No one said we were going 82-0 or 20-0 or whatever. We had a nice little roll, kind of, going, and we have to get some more games in a row, so that's what we're focusing on."


Hoops Perspective tries to explain what it would be like if women were NBA teams.


Coach Casey on managing Garnett's playing time:
"Its very difficult," Casey said of limiting Garnett's minutes while trying to win, "when the game is in the balance. (No.) 21 has to be out there. … I feel vulnerable if he's not out there."

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Eddie Griffin's career with team "likely over"

From Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune:
A source with knowledge of the situation said the team and Griffin's representatives are engaged in discussions that would allow the two sides to part amicably once the suspension ends after Friday's game against Detroit. An agreement could be reached as early as today.

Owner Glen Taylor, attending the Wolves game against Atlanta on Wednesday at Target Center, would not comment on Griffin's status.

When Griffin's suspension was announced in Memphis on Friday, Wolves General Manager Jim Stack suggested that, because of Griffin's troubles in the past, there was language in the three-year, $8.1 million contract Griffin signed before last year that addressed such a situation. Days later, Taylor confirmed that.

Even so, the team likely would prefer to work out a settlement with Griffin, who has been with the Wolves since the start of the 2004-05 season, that would please both sides and allow them to part ways without having to evoke that language.

If the two sides aren't able to negotiate an agreement, it is unclear how hard it would be to enforce termination language in Griffin's contract. Presumably, any attempt to invoke that language would be contested by the NBA Players' Association on Griffin's behalf.

Wolves 88, Hawks 105

It was Atlanta's first victory at Target Center in more than nine years.

From Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune:
The Wolves spent the first quarter trying to figure out two things: how to make layups and how to stop Atlanta. It turned out to be a game-long quest.


AP Recap

Box Score


"I was very disappointed in our approach and our sense of urgency," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "We're not in a position in our program yet to come out and wait until we get behind to play."


Some idea of how bad this was: Kevin Garnett didn't score till there was 1 minute, 44 seconds left in the first half. By then Joe Johnson had hit 10 of 13 shots and scored 24 points.

“Joe Johnson was aggressive from the start,” said Garnett. “The (Hawks) got into a nice rhythm and never looked back.”

Peace Players International Benefit Show

Ballin’- 30 Songs About 30 NBA Teams

A Benefit for Peace Players International (formerly Playing for Peace)


Saturday, January 20, 2007
7th St Entry (First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN)
8:00pm Doors/ $6.00 admissions/ 21+ show


Featuring:
Chooglin’, E.L.No., Trillbert Arenas, It From Bit, Supa Doopa, Shoveldance, Solid Gold, Sweatpants Boner, The Mad Ripple, Tom Cruise Control, and the Western Fifth.
Hosted by Ian Rans.

The bands will be performing 30 songs relating to the 30 teams in the league.


Peace Players International is an organization whose mission is “to use the game of basketball to unite and educate children and their communities.” The group has or is working on programs in the Middle East, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Cyprus, and Uganda.


For more info on Peace Players International, check out True Hoop's "Basketball Does Good" section.

Wolves Updates 1/17

Kent Youngblood/Star Tribune on Rashad McCants and the mental effects of his recovery:
"You feel like you're a ghost," McCants said of the early stages of his rehabilitation. "A lot of guys I was friends with last year, you can see kind of a distant hello or what's up, something like that. And that's from KG down to Bracey [Wright]. It was hard, because I felt they turned their backs on me. But you know what? It was nothing of the sort. I wasn't playing. I wasn't really a part of the team."

Garnett says that McCants is "transcending himself" and that though he hasn't been playing, he's "tried to be a lot more connected with the team."


From Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press:
Injured guard Rashad McCants said he is ready to resume full-scale practices with the team this week, presumably on Thursday...

Wolves coach Dwane Casey wouldn't put a timetable on McCants' possible return, but McCants said he hopes to play during the coming five-game road trip, though that goal seems ambitious...


Marko Jaric on rumors of his discontent and team management:
"They know how I feel very well," Jaric said. "My agent knows how I feel very well. I might talk to media in the future, but so far we're winning and everything's going well for us. I don't want to be like the black sheep of the family. I don't want to concentrate on that."

Jaric also said he wanted to "try to come back as soon as possible" so that he could "be part of the team and winning now"


Some of the team were asked to name the 5 players from the league that would make their All-NBA first team. Marko Jaric and Bracey Wright were the only ones polled who left Garnett off their list. Also, it seems as if Justin Reed either misunderstood the question or has a great sense of humor. His All-NBA first team is below:
Troy Hudson, Ricky Davis, Justin Reed, Kevin Garnett, Eddie Griffin


Garnett is at #5 in NBA.com's "Race to the MVP."


A preview of tonight's game against the Hawks.

Interviews with Elie Seckbach

The gentlemen at the Basketball Jones talk to "embedded NBA correspondent" Elie Seckbach on episode 83 of their (almost) daily podcast.

Matt at Detroit Bad Boys interviews Seckbach as well and gets him to relate stories of his interactions with players, including the one below:

...one time Mark Madsen locked himself out of his own car with the engine running. This was the morning of the Lakers championship parade (the second championship team) — there were 300,000 people outside of the arena. I called AAA guided them in and got Madsen his car open.


If you're unfamiliar with Seckbach, some of his work can be found here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wolves Updates 1/16

Rick Alonzo/Pioneer Press writes that the Pistons' Nazr Mohammed is "emerging as the leading candidate" in a possible trade for Marko Jaric.

On Mohammed's status with Detroit:
Mohammed was pulled from the starting lineup last week and doesn't want to stick around if the addition of Webber means a more-reduced role for him off the bench.


From the Detroit Free Press:
A team source confirmed the Pistons have talked with the Timberwolves, who are shopping backup point guard Marko Jaric, among other teams...


From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
The Wolves have been talking to the Pistons about three of their big men -- Nazr Mohammed, Antonio McDyess or Dale Davis.
But based on Monday's performance, perhaps they should be targeting McDyess...


Britt Robson/City Pages on yesterday's win in Detroit.


Some of the team paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.


The Wolves move up to #8 in ESPN's power rankings.


Flip Saunders compares Chris Webber to Garnett:
"He's a lot like Garnett as far as his ability to run the offense through," Saunders said. "Both have the ability to score, pass and make plays for other people."


Coach Casey and Mad Dog talk about Ricky Davis.


Chris Ekstrand/SI.com on Randy Foye, Craig Smith, and other rookies playing "key roles" for their teams.


Librado S. Wright/Hoopsworld places the Wolves on a list of the top 5 surprising teams of the season.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Wolves 94, Pistons 90 OT

From Steve Aschburner/Star Tribune:
Foye's trials and tribulations defined the game's last 17 minutes. In marital terms, he went from honeymoon to something out of Jason & Joumana Kidd's playbook and back again...

Other Wolves had big nights: Ricky Davis scored 21 and shared time with Trenton Hassell defending both Hamilton and Prince. Hassell had eight offensive rebounds among his season-high 11 and missed only one of eight shots in scoring 15 points. Garnett had 19 points, 14 rebounds and two golden missed-opportunities to attack the rim in overtime, but he sank the two free throws in OT and had a hand in Wallace's 1-for-11 day.

But as long as Mike James continues his tentative play, so much of what the Wolves accomplish will hinge on Foye and his learning curve.


AP Recap

Box Score

Postgame quotes


Said Garnett: "One thing that Randy has is [our] confidence. ... The more aggressive he is, the easier it is on all of us. He's already drawing a crowd, he's already won a game, he has some experience under his belt, he has some confidence. He's not cocky, but he walks with a little swag. He needs that.
"We don't baby him ... He takes his lumps. But it's all to make him potentially what he could be."

ESPN Sources: Deal for Nazr Mohammed discussed

Marc Stein reports that Chris Webber has told ESPN of his intent to sign with the Pistons after he clears waivers tomorrow afternoon. In the same article, Stein says that, according to his sources, the Wolves have talked about acquiring the Pistons' Nazr Mohammed.

To help create frontcourt minutes for Webber, furthermore, Detroit has discussed a deal with Minnesota that would send center Nazr Mohammed to the Wolves for guard Marko Jaric, according to NBA front-office sources.

Star Tribune: Wolves, Pistons talking trade

From Steve Aschburner:
The Wolves have been talking with the Detroit Pistons about a deal that could send Jaric to Motown, with one of several big men - Nazr Mohammed, Antonio McDyess or Dale Davis - heading to Minnesota.

Sources familiar with the negotiations told the Minneapolis Star Tribune late Sunday night that the trade talks could yield a deal within days. The Pistons, whom the Wolves face on Monday in a Martin Luther King holiday matinee at the Palace of Auburn Hills and again at Target Center on Friday, are eager to open a spot in their rotation for former Philadelphia power forward Chris Webber.