Thursday, October 11, 2012

Timberwolves invade Fargo!!

I was so excited to learn the Wolves would open preseason up in my neck of the woods. As soon as the day came for tickets to go on sale I had to see what the cost was for the best seats available. Well I splurged and got the court-side seats and man was it worth it!!  Everything was so amazing up close, from talking to the players during warmups, to joking with AK47 over a bad call, it is something I will never forget!!

Dad and I courtside!

KLove warming up.
Wolves Team Defense
The game was great although the Pacers sat 3 of their starters, but I didn't care the Wolves were back and I was there!!  The Wolves were in control throughout and should have beat them by a larger margin but missing free-throws and open 3's  kept their point total down. A few thoughts on the guys and what I saw:

JJ Barea - same as last year, although a bit more under control, picked his spots to take it to the hoop. Didn't over dribble and force his shot.

Brandon Roy - Looked good, really got cooking in the 3rd quarter, but when he checked out I think he went back to the locker room. I didn't see anything stating he needed treatment, but maybe it had to do with banging knees with somebody or just routine end of game icing. I did not see any kind of limp or anything to make me worry other than he returned to the bench in the 4th quarter with Greg Farnham,

AK47 - Looks to be the jack of all trades that this team needs.  AK didn't shoot much and looked hesitant to take a shot from the outside.  He did however play good help defense and passed the ball very well.  One pass was to a cutting KLove for the layup and another almost pass where he tipped it backwards over his head to an open Pek. Unfortunately Pek was not ready for the pass, I don't think anybody was actually, ha!

KLove and Big Pek - KLove looked fine to me, did his normal thing and so did Pek.  I didn't get the sense Love was out of shape, just not as intense since it was only the first preseason game.  Pek was, well Pek.  He was doing everything we saw from him last season, but yes he does look more buff! I noted to my dad how big Hibbert was, but Hibbert's arms were way smaller than Big Pek. Pek will do some damage again this year!

DWill - Looked very aggressive in the first half and even knocked down a three. I guess Coach was not too thrilled about it, but to me it seemed they came within the flow of the game, not just floating outside by the 3 point line. His dunk on the alley oop from Shved was nuts, it is even more impressive to see it again on the replays.

Chase Budingggggger - Dude looked like the type of player we needed last year, under control, athletic and can actually knock down an open 3!! Chase didn't get any opportunities to throw one down, but I think he will be great in this offense, especially playing with Ricky.

Shved - Crossover Panda didn't hit any of his shot attempts, but he looked very smooth and was just a bit off last night. He showed his passing and court vision last night and I think will come along slowly at first then fit right into the NBA game.  Overall I was impressed by him tonight. I will admit he is very thin,  I think his arm sleeve was baggy on him, ha!

Greg Steimsma -  my new personal favorite, he had a nice block in the first half and was out there playing tough D and rebounding.  Best part about Steimer was that he was nice enough to respond to me a couple times during pre-game warmups and halftime warmups.  Steimer prefers Sioux Falls over Fargo in case anybody was wondering! Funniest was when 3 boys at halftime were trying to get autographs and they kept yelling for Kevin.  Steimer was the only player to really respond to them, to which the boys would say, can you get Kevin to come over here? So after the game I told Steimer he is still my favorite, but can you get Kevin to come over here? Ha!

The rest - Saw Will Conroy handle the backup PG duties well, would have liked to have seem him be a bit more aggressive taking it to the hoop, but oh well.  Louis Amundson and Dante Cunningham played limited minutes in the 4th quarter, two hustle guys that help provide additional depth for the long season.  Mike Harris got a cameo and couldn't make much out of his 3-4 minutes.

Overall I thought the Wolves looked good for the first game of the year, and when the remaining players come back healthy I do think they will be in the playoffs and could make some noise. However, the NBA season is a long one and injuries can derail a season, just look back to last season. It was a great night, a great game, and of course a great man I got to share it with, thanks Dad!!!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Dag-um 'Noles

So ever since I was a kid I have always enjoyed cheering on the Florida State Seminoles. Not sure why. Maybe it was the players, maybe it was because they were good then or maybe it was the Dag-um football coach Bobby Bowden. Whatever the case is I usually find myself watching them and inevitably stubbing their toe during the season and missing out on any chance of a National Championship.  Last night was no exception.
On the road at North Carolina State in a hostile environment it happened again!! A few reasons why. When you play on the road and you are in control of the came in the first half you need to score touchdowns, not field goals!! If you are moving the ball down the field by spreading the opponent out, don't help them by going to a tight formation and trying to stuff it up the middle. This happened all night on 3rd and short! Next, after the Wolfpack got all of the games momentum after a 3rd quarter touchdown drive make sure you get some points on your next trip into the redzone! You cannot call time out in field goal range, come out and then take a sack on the next play taking you out of field goal range!!  Lastly, make a play on defense! The entire fourth quarter NCSU's QB was picking the Seminole defense apart by being patient and taking the underneath routes that they were giving him. If the linebacker is going to play too deep to stop the passes over the middle, maybe they should blitz him to bring more pressure on the QB who had all day to throw.
During the end of the 4th it looked like Florida State may escape when NCSU failed to convert on a 4th and 10.  The QB checked down to an underneath route, the replay clearly showed he had a guy deep for a touchdown on a seam route when the safety failed to cover the deep route. Florida State was saved, they could run out the clock and win the game!! Um, no! Three runs for a total of -2 yards and it was time to punt the ball back to NCSU. Only thing is, the punt was blocked!  NCSU had plenty of time to get into scoring range. Florida State did have them at 4th and 10 on their own 15 yard line, however, the tight end got position on the defender and made a difficult catch at the 3 yard line.  From there it was a few near turnovers and another 4th down. However NCSU got the right play called that left a guy wide open for the touchdown.
No miracle finish for the Seminoles this time and their National Championship hopes may have gone with it. So no matter how times change with new players and coaches the more they seem to stay the same. I mean this was the 4th time in a row Florida State has lost to NCSU when ranked. Oy!
How much longer until my Minnesota Timberwolves start their season!?!? Ha!