Monday Howls - 11.30.15

By Schweebs

From the AP:

“Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio sat out his second straight game because of soreness in his left ankle. Former UCLA product Zach LaVine started in his place, missing his first six shots and finishing 6 for 15 with 18 points and seven assists. ... Garnett still needs nine points to reach the 26,000 mark. His former Celtics and Nets teammate, Clippers forward Paul Pierce, is 23 away from joining him on that list. ... Towns is the only player to start all 17 games for the Wolves. He entered Sunday averaging 14.2 points, second among rookies behind Jahlil Okafor's 18.0 per game with Philadelphia. ... Minnesota forward Nemanja Bjelica had 10 points in 22 minutes after missing four games because of a bruised left knee.”

Must-read feature on KG:

“When the Wolves acquired Garnett this past February, before Towns had been drafted, they took on a 38-year-old with a $12 million salary and a history of knee problems. Flip Saunders was the driving force behind the decision to bring KG into the fold, citing Garnett's ability to flourish as a rookie under the watchful eye of former teammate Sam Mitchell, who is now the Timberwolves' interim coach. The idea was to pay that experience forward. Garnett, who signed a new two-year, $16.5 million guaranteed deal after he arrived, is the first to concede that his value is no longer to produce on the court. The Wolves are banking on his intangibles: the work ethic, the experience, the ability to motivate. Garnett, for his part, says Towns reminds him much of himself at the same age. ‘His confidence might be a little higher than mine was at this point,’ he says. ‘It's modern day. Kids are exposed to so much more. Karl listens. He's smart, but like so many young players, he likes to think he knows a lot. He's got a lot of swag. So that's what's up. We'll deal.’

"’I’m the OG, the original gangster,’ Garnett explains. ‘Like when you go into the neighborhood and they see you and say, 'There's the OG.' It's a sign of respect, you know? The old guard. The old generation. These guys are the YG. It's their league now. I don't mind being the OG. It's what I am. I'm starting to see my purpose. Every day, it's clearer and clearer to me.’”

Bjelica is back, but no Rubio:

“Timberwolves starting point guard Ricky Rubio missed his second consecutive game because of soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle, but reserve forward Nemanja Bjelica returned from injury in Sunday’s 107-99 loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles.

"He missed four games after he banged knees with Orlando’s Aaron Gordon nearly two weeks ago but returned Sunday with 22 minutes off the bench. His shot was perfect, even if his legs and lungs weren’t. ‘He looked good,’ Wolves interim head coach Sam Mitchell said. ‘He made a couple shots, moved pretty good. Obviously, he’s rusty, but I was pleased. I thought he did well.’ Bjelica was 4-for-4 from the field, including 2-for-2 on three-pointers. He also had two rebounds, an assist and two fouls. Clippers star Blake Griffin welcomed Bjelica back with a lefthanded slam over him in the second quarter.”

Kobe’s finally retiring:

“’This season is all I have left to give,’ Bryant wrote in a poem, entitled “Dear Basketball,” that was published on The Players’ Tribune. ‘My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye. And that’s OK. I’m ready to let you go.’

“This was the most accurate self–assessment Bryant has given in weeks. Clinging fiercely to the glory he accumulated by winning five titles and earning 17 All–Star nods, Bryant has endured a month to forget. On the court, he’s chucked up bricks and airballs, struggled to get to the hoop off the dribble, and missed three games due to minor maladies. In front of the cameras, Bryant seemed to be living in an alternate reality, certain that his shooting form would return and even suggesting, after a loss to the Warriors, that he ‘could’ve scored 80 tonight [and] it wouldn’t have made a damn difference.’”

“Bryant is hardly the first future Hall of Famer to engage in defensive bluster during his twilight years, but his singular status with the Lakers—his league–high $25 million contract and 20 years of service—looped his entire organization into what has often devolved into a charade. Bryant has overshadowed these Lakers just as he dominated this year’s media guide, which featured 20 photos of him and none of his current teammates.”

 

Welcome back from break, Wolfpack. Back to work (dammit)…