A nice, emotional win for the sellout crowd! Way to go!
--It became clear again tonight: mostly attacking the rim, good...mostly taking jumpers without attacking the rim first, bad. You have Roy, Dixon, and Jack out there to penetrate. Don't waste them.
--Speaking of wasting them, my kingdom for a big man without cinder blocks for hands. From what I saw this summer Lamarcus Aldridge is fairly coordinated. Maybe someday he'll be the answer. How many dunks would we have had, though, if our big guys could catch the dish?
--The first half rebounding was underwhelming. It seemed like guys were leaking out before we got the ball. If we're getting outrebounded with Zach and Jamaal in the game together, what hope have we? It shaped up in the second half, however. You saw five guys going at it.
--You have to say a lot of good things about how Magloire and Outlaw helped contain KG in the second half. In the first half it looked like our game plan was getting him to sprain his arm from dunking so hard. Late in the game we made him take long jumpers or contested spin shots. Still, interior defense is not our strong point right now, sans Joel anyway. Our help defense needs work too.
--We did a lot better job playing against the zone defense tonight. Both ball and players went in and out a lot. Eventually all that motion broke them down.
--We forced Minnesota into a perimeter game when it counted. We also took advantage of their turnovers, won the battle of the boards (barely), and most importantly kept KG off the line. Chalk up the win (again, barely).
--Martell did a heck of a job hitting shots again tonight. It shouldn't be ignored that his presence helped open up the middle for everybody else. Notice also that later in the game he started coming off of screens and curls instead of standing still as the weak side outlet. There's no way to keep a zone integral when he does that.
--Bravo Travis Outlaw. The best words to describe his game are "confidence" and "energy". He just got out there and did something. The results were great. By far the best statistical game of his career. (18 points, 15 boards).
--Zach pretty well played within himself. It was not his best game defensively and he was a little slow down the court at times, but that's Zach. He scored and hit a high percentage, grabbed a few rebounds, and most of all didn't hold onto the ball until the Second Coming every time he touched it. He deserves some credit for keeping the offense moving fast enough that Minnesota couldn't compensate.
--Brandon Roy, Brandon Roy, Brandon Roy. This was one of his lesser games and he still made more impact than just about anyone out there. 9 free throw attempts, 8 assists. When really good players aren't hitting they still do things to win the game. He looks like a really good player. He made Hassell and KG look slightly silly out there off the dribble.
--Juan saved himself with that clutch shot. On that last possession they couldn't leave Roy, couldn't leave Martell, couldn't leave Zach, and couldn't leave Travis. They left him, and he made them pay. Even with the off game up to that point he pretty much played within himself too.
--For those who watched Blazer Broadcasting, the first time Juan Dixon came into the game their bottom-screen graphic had him listed at 6'6". Anybody see him wearing stiletto heels out there?
A solid team win all around. Once we got our act together everybody played as a unit and everybody contributed. You gotta love it.
I'll take any eyewitness reports below or by e-mail. Pictures too if you've got them. How was the crowd live?