Souhan: Wolves limp to another improbable victory

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2013 - 11:27 AM

A sinister curse is causing players to drop like flies, yet the Wolves are hanging in there.

The Timberwolves' worries continued to pile up Tuesday like sandbags around a storm-ravaged town.

Their coach, Rick Adelman, missed the game for personal reasons, while Kevin Love awaited another opinion on his broken hand, and Ricky Rubio, trying to adapt to his repaired knee, treated the lane the way student drivers treat downtown traffic. J.J. Barea even acknowledged after the game that he's playing with a troublesome back.

The Wolves entered training camp with a deep, talented roster. With a star player fresh off playing a key role in the Olympic gold medal game. With a team that promised to make the playoffs for the first time since the last time Latrell Sprewell smiled.

Then Love fractured his hand, Chase Budinger blew out his knee, Brandon Roy found his surgically repaired knees not surgically repaired enough to stay on the court, Rubio's return from knee surgery made him look, at times, like a novice ice skater, and Josh Howard and Malcolm Lee were lost for the season because of knee injuries.

"When you talk about key guys, I've never faced anything like this,'' said Wolves assistant coach Terry Porter, who filled in for the missing Adelman on Tuesday night.

Porter has been in the NBA since 1985. The man played against Julius Erving. He remembers when players wore shorts that were actually short.

It's early January, and the Wolves have more talent today on their injury list than they've had on their roster in many seasons. If they were followed by a more self-absorbed fan base, they would have created a legend about a billy goat or a Bambino; they would have turned their misfortune into a long-running narrative that begs for attention and sympathy.

It's not too late. Wolves fans should embrace the one legend that would explain their team's unique combination of historical mismanagement and recent misfortune.

Wolves fans should popularize the legend of Joey Two Step.

Joey Two Step (not his real name) worked for the Wolves as an in-game entertainer. The camera would scan the arena and find him sitting, disguised as an average fan, in the stands. Joey would bob his head to the music, then break into a funky dance.

It was a pretty good bit that ended when Joey failed to control his amorous nature when he encountered female employees. The Wolves' bosses called him into a meeting and fired him.

JTS said: "Curse you, Timberwolves! No one fires Joey Two Step! I'm putting a hex on you!''

The hex has traveled like an insidious disease through the body Timberwolf. It began in the brains of key decision-makers. Last year it spread to Rubio's knee. This year it has attacked body parts indiscriminately.

Tuesday night, the Wolves were even missing their coach. With Porter calmly running the show, the Wolves beat a good Atlanta team, 108-103.

The Wolves continue to win games they shouldn't. Tuesday, they won because of Nikola Pekovic's dominance inside, and Andrei Kirilenko's all-around game, and Alexey Shved's deftness, and Derrick Williams' scoring, and Dante Cunningham's last-minute shot and steal.

Their roster is decimated, yet they are 16-15. If they can survive without Love and if Rubio gains confidence in his knee and Roy ...

But can this really be their year, with so many key players out? People who roller-skate drunk down stairs have a lower injury rate.

"I'm not surprised,'' Kirilenko said. "Even though we lose a few key players, we have guys who are able to perform at a high level. This is why you like to play on this team right now. Even if someone isn't playing, you have somebody else stepping up.''

Kirilenko praised his healthy teammates, including fellow Russian Alexey Shved. The Russians are the key, right?

"The Russians,'' he said with a smile, "are always the key.''

The Wolves play intelligent, cohesive basketball. This is turning into the year they earn our sympathy instead of our ridicule.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is SouhanStrib. •

  • WOLVES 108, ATLANTA 103

    Up next: 7 p.m. today vs. Okla. City

    TV: Ch. 29 (830-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM





question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to be the next Twins manager?

Weekly Question


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters