Tracking the T’Wolves: Time for a Reverse Jinx

In a new twist to our weekly Timberwolves update, Mason injects some logic to go alongside Chris’ always entertaining madness.

Rookie PG Ricky Rubio's play will have a big impact on Minnesota's results this week.

It’s time for the this week’s edition of Tracking the T’Wolves, and your Hornets player ranker has decided to step in and get involved. Apparently, Mr. Trew thinks this is all just fun and games. “Oh hey, let’s relentlessly make fun of the Timberwolves since their first round draft pick belongs to us!” Well, look how that’s worked out – Minnesota is 8-10, making them a far-too-close-to-mediocre 14th-worst in the NBA.

14th worst? This pick was the Clippers’ most valued asset because they expected it to be the 14th pick in the draft? I guess congratulations are in order, Chris, because it is now painfully obvious that all of the T’Wolves players (with the exception of our boy Michael Beasley) are reading your posts and taking it upon themselves to spite you by winning games.

My solution? Time to pull Bill Simmons’ patented reverse jinx on them. I’ll present a bit of analysis in regards to how each game will be decided, and Chris will follow up with some of the greatest reverse jinxes that the world has ever seen.

Friday, January 27th – vs. San Antonio Spurs

Matchup to Watch: Kevin Love against whoever attempts to defend him. It may seem obvious, but the reason is because of how poorly San Antonio defends opposing power forwards – the Spurs are allowing an effective field goal percentage (factors in the added benefit of a 3-point shot vs. a 2-point shot) of 53.8% and a PER of 18.6 to that position. All things point to Love having a huge game for Minnesota on Friday night.

Key to Victory: The T’Wolves are 5th in the NBA in free throws attempted per game at 33.3, but the Spurs are 4th in the NBA in free throws allowed per game at 23.5. Something has to give, and the team who wins this battle should put itself in a better position to win.

Chris’ Chaos: First of all, I take offense to everything you said up there that is even slightly insulting. I take most offense to the parts that clearly weren’t insults because I’m in a bad mood and I feel like being mad. My attempts at cursing the Tumblewolves has only been halfway effective and I’m not happy about it.

So let’s try this reverse jinx thing out. Against the Spurs, Kevin Love and Tim Duncan collide during the tip-off  (they just do, okay?). Love instantly absorbs all of Tim Duncan’s powers while maintaining his own. Tumblewolves clobber San Antonio by 50.

Sunday, January 29th – vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Matchup to Watch: Can Ricky Rubio contain Kobe Bryant? By starting 6’2″ Luke Ridnour and 6’4″ Rubio, he usually matches up with the opposing team’s SG, and has done a pretty good job so far, holding them to a PER of 13.7. If Ricky can force Kobe into an inefficient night, Minnesota will have a good chance to pull this one off.

Key to Victory: The T’Wolves have one of the top 10 quickest paces in the NBA, while the Lakers have the 23rd fastest pace. If the Lakers take care of the ball and force Minnesota to play at their slower tempo, the game tilts in favor of LA. If not, the T’Wolves will likely benefit.

Chris’ Chaos: During pre-game shootaround Kobe Bryant decides to force himself to Minnesota to play for “basketball reasons.” It’s really just a front for his spending more time with Ricky Rubio.  Tumblewolves dismantle the Lakers by 50. Minnesota season ticket reps all lose their jobs for the next five years.

Monday, January 30th – @ Houston Rockets

Matchup to Watch: Does coach Adelman shake up the defensive matchups in Houston after last this past Monday’s poor performance against his former team at home? Rubio guarded Lowry and Ridnour guarded Martin while they played together, and both Rockets guards had big nights – Lowry finished with a triple-double, and Martin scored 31 points on 21 shots. Given the ineffectiveness that both experienced, it will be interesting to see whether or not the T’Wolves decide to make a change on defense.

Key to Victory: The Rockets rank 7th in the NBA in total rebound rate thanks to their 29.2% rate on the offensive glass (5th in the NBA by itself). Minnesota as a team ranks just 21st in the NBA in total rebound rate, so Kevin Love is going to have to put the team on his back (once again) in that department for the T’Wolves to have a chance to steal one in Houston.

Chris’ Chaos: Since winning their past two games by a combined total of 100 points, the T’Wolves have a high intimidation factor and a brand new guard named Kobe Bryant. In Houston, Olajuwon has been drinking enough acai kombucha elixir that is propels him into the Toyota Center and backwards in time. While sitting courtside he’s so inspired by the Tumblers that he decides to take his back in time body to the locker room where he signs a 10-day contract. Wolves win by 50.

Wednesday, February 1st – vs. Indiana Pacers

Matchup to Watch: Danny Granger vs. Michael Beasley/Wesley Johnson. The Pacers’ impressive balance thus far on offense (an incredible seven players averaged double figures in points over their first 15 games) has helped to mask a slow start for Granger. However, if there’s any time for him to get out of his current rut, it’s this game. If Granger takes advantage of this matchup like he is capable of, it could be a long night for Minnesota.

Key to Victory: Minnesota has done a pretty decent job of defending the 3-point line this season, holding opponents to about 33% from long range. The Pacers, however, are making an impressive 39.0% of their 3-point attempts, good for 4th in the NBA. If the T’Wolves allow Indiana to make around 40% of its shots from beyond the arc, they are going to have a tough time getting a W.

Chris’ Chaos: David West (frequent reader of my columns) finally gets a chance to shout the famous tag line from past Tumblewolves posts, “This is for my people in New Orleans” seconds before lining up to shoot an 18 foot jumper. Game is tied. Three seconds left. He’s wide open. Just as the ball leaves his hands the arena begins spinning, time shifts and lights start rapidly changing colors. Suddenly it’s the end of the season, the Wolves are 0-66, David West is wearing Creole Blue and Eric Gordon just got a note from the doctor saying “you will never, ever be injured ever again, ever.” Coach Chris Paul winks at us during the NBA draft lottery and I get to have all of the cookies in the world.

Mason Ginsberg and Chris Trew are now coordinating to write “Tracking the T’Wolves”, a weekly piece dedcated to keeping you up to date on how the T’Wolves are doing. You can also find more regular updates on twitter – @Tumblewolves.

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