Wolves Insider: Celtics rise as Heat wilts

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 18, 2007 - 11:32 PM

The two Eastern Conference powers faced off Friday night, with the teams headed in opposite directions.

Sonics Heat Basketball

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade (3) goes to the basket as Seattle SuperSonics' Chris Wilcox looks on in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Photo: Alan Diaz, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Two short seasons ago, the Miami Heat won 53 games, its division and the franchise's first NBA championship while the formerly proud Boston Celtics won 33 times and missed the playoffs for the first of two consecutive years.

Today, the Celtics remain the picture of perfection while Heat coach Pat Riley is theatrically threatening a playing comeback in one breath and his resignation in the next. At the same time, Timberwolves followers are regretting that the Heat's 2008 first-round pick included in last month's Ricky Davis-Antoine Walker trade is lottery-protected.

Boston's 8-0 start has been so impressive and so far removed from Kevin Garnett's Wolves days that the future Hall of Famer at least playfully considered the possibility of an 82-0 season.

"I guess anything's possible," he told reporters last week, borrowing a line from one of his shoe commercials. "I don't know if you can ever have a perfect season."

His line prompted teammate Paul Pierce to slip off one of his Nike shoes and place it on a table between the two of them at a postgame news conference following a 22-point pounding of New Jersey on Wednesday.

After holding on to beat the falling-fast Heat at home 92-91 Friday night, the Celtics need two more victories to match a franchise record 10-0 set by the 1972-73 team coached by Tom Heinsohn.

"It is just a number," Boston coach Doc Rivers said of his team's start. "It means zero to me, and hopefully the players as well."

The Heat's 1-8 start also is just numbers, but apparently they are numbers that mean more to Riley, who first last week suggested a "real" and "massive" lineup change might be needed to shake awake his team and then suggested playfully that he might be the massive change needed.

Even Dwyane Wade's return on Wednesday from offseason surgeries couldn't prevent a home loss to previously winless Seattle, although Riley was impressed with Wade's play and said he hopes his presence is enough to "inspire" his uninspired team.

"One person is not the savior," Wade said.

Riley can't find consistency from any of his perimeter players -- not vet Penny Hardaway or free-agent signee Smush Parker or rookie Daequan Cook -- other than starters Davis and Jason Williams.

National pundits declared last month's trade that sent Davis and center Mark Blount from the Wolves to Miami for Walker, Michael Doleac, Wayne Simien and a future No. 1 pick lopsided in the Heat's favor. But already Riley seems vexed by the enigma that is Blount, a mystifyingly rich 7-foot jump shooter.

The Heat still must pay Blount's big contract for the next three seasons. Already, he has been in and out of Riley's lineup and is being played perhaps as much because of his big contract as for his abilities.

"We've got to climb back into the season," Riley said about his team, "and hopefully get to a place where we could contend for the playoffs. But right now, we're a long way away from that. We're getting embarrassed. We have to simply come together. We're in the abyss right now. It's not much fun."

A variety of sources contributed to this report.

  • related content

  • Zgoda's short takes: Nov. 18

    Saturday November 17, 2007

    Those preseason predictions for a 50-plus-victory season and an NBA Finals run have faded fast for the Chicago Bulls, who...

  • Wolves suffer back-to-back blowouts

    Sunday November 18, 2007

    Playing at home for the second night in a row, the team was thoroughly trounced by a Hornets squad missing star Chris Paul.

  • Turnovers by McCants get the coach's attention

    Saturday November 17, 2007

    Timberwolves guard Rashad McCants and coach Randy Wittman sat together on an otherwise empty Target Center bench, deep in conversation...

  • WOLVES WEEK IN REVIEW Record: 1-2 Wednesday’s 108-103 home victory over Sacramento ended a five-game losing streak — one loss short of the franchise record to open a season in 1994-95, the year before Kevin Garnett arrived in Minnesota. They had rare weekend back-to-back home games and lost both nights, 105-89 to Washington on Friday and 100-82 to New Orleans on Saturday. STAR TRIBUNE'S STAR OF THE WEEK: Rashad McCants, guard Opportunity has banged for the third-year guard still searching for his way in the league and he answered in Wednesday's first victory of the season with a 33-point performance that surpassed his previous career best of 28, set in his rookie season. THIS WEEK: Three games Wednesday: vs. Cleveland, 7 p.m. Friday: at Denver, 8 p.m. Saturday: vs. Atlanta, 7 p.m. LeBron James and the Cavaliers make their only Target Center appearance of the season for a festive Thanksgiving eve game. After some turkey, the Wolves head west to play the Nuggets. THE QUOTE "He had microfracture? I didn’t know that. He’s looking good then. A lot of guys need to get the same surgeon he has." — Antoine Walker when told Wednesday’s leading scorer, Rashad McCants (33 points), had microfracture knee surgery 17 months ago. JERRY ZGODA
  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles 5 Top 3rd Inning
Chicago Cubs 1
Detroit 1 Top 4th Inning
Kansas City 0
Philadelphia - J. Williams 3:05 PM
Oakland - D. Pomeranz
Toronto - M. Stroman 3:05 PM
NY Yankees - C. Capuano
Arizona - T. Cahill 3:10 PM
Colorado - E. Butler
Boston - R. De La Rosa 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Milwaukee - M. Garza 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Washington - J. Zimmermann 6:10 PM
Miami - J. Cosart
NY Mets - J. Niese 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Minor
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Archer
Cleveland - T. House 6:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Seattle - C. Young 6:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Wacha
San Francisco - Y. Petit 7:40 PM
San Diego - A. Cashner
Texas - C. Lewis 8:05 PM
LA Angels - J. Weaver
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Bowling Green 10 3rd Qtr
(19) Wisconsin 41
Old Dominion 35 3rd Qtr 11:02
Rice 14
Troy 0 3rd Qtr 9:52
(13) Georgia 52
Georgia Tech 10 3rd Qtr 10:46
Virginia Tech 16
Eastern Mich 0 3rd Qtr 9:42
(11) Michigan State 56
Iowa 14 3rd Qtr 4:54
Pittsburgh 20
Tulane 7 3rd Qtr
Duke 19
Maryland 31 2nd Qtr 1:35
Syracuse 13
Hawaii 0 1st Qtr 15:00
Colorado 0
Marshall 0 1st Qtr 15:00
Akron 0
North Carolina 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 4:00 PM
Portland
Houston 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
New England 6:30 PM
Columbus
San Jose 6:30 PM
Montreal
Seattle 6:30 PM
Red Bull New York
D.C. 7:30 PM
Chicago
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close
Sonics Heat Basketball