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Monday (The Timberwolves and the trampoline effect) edition: Wha' Happened?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • February 13, 2012 - 9:31 AM

On Saturday, momentum made it such that the Timberwolves vs. Knicks game at Target Center was the most-talked about game in all of the NBA and drew the largest crowd in the building (more than 20,000) in almost eight years. The main attraction was the battle of precocious point guards: Ricky Rubio vs. Jeremy Lin. And the game was not televised locally, meaning you had to be in the building (or have access to NBA League Pass) to see it.

We did not see it. Instead, we spent much of the evening preparing for and engaging in the act of trampolining. Yes, we took our first visit to the much talked about Sky Zone Sports in Oakdale, where wall-to-wall trampolines beckon you to bounce the night away. Along with Mrs. RandBall, we were among only a handful of adults there; the rest of the crowd, we would have to guess, was high-school aged.

Wearing an orange headband, shorts, facility-issued trampolining shoes and our Big Lebowski t-shirt, we bounced around for about 90 minutes, getting more confident in our careening with each passing moment. The strangest sensation, though, wasn't the constant bouncing -- even though we routinely shot several feet into the air. Instead, the most jarring aspect was coming off the trampoline and suddenly being on normal ground. Each step was so suddenly strange, with the floor offering firm resistance instead of cushy, bouncy give. In just a short amount of time, our body had grown accustomed to being lifted upward.

And that brings us back to the Timberwolves. The term "trampoline effect" is most often heard when it comes to hitting golf balls or baseballs farther and farther, but we'd like to use it to compare our experience Saturday night with that of the Wolves in the past few games. It seems that the Wolves, just like us, have gotten used to the sudden bounce of momentum that had them winning more games than they lost through the first 25. Passes looked effortless. Big shots often fell. What they are experiencing now is the stiffening of the competition -- and the Wolves, losers of three in a row, aren't quite sure how to react when they come off the figurative trampoline. They're expecting the same bounce to be automatic even when on flat land. They're throwing the same passes and taking the same shots as when they were occupying rarified air, but they're not working the same way now. In short, the trampoline made things just a little too easy. It's time for the Wolves -- and us -- to re-learn how to walk before we can again bounce.

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