No Shelter Here: Kings 114, Timberwolves 100

I don't mean to disparage Minnesota's roster or coaching staff (well, not the entire coaching staff), but you can tell when a team has completely given up, and the Minnesota Timberwolves have completely given up. It's hard to blame them -- the roster is baaaad, overmatched at four whole positions. (Four!) I mean, should Al Jefferson be bubbly right now? Should Jonny Flynn run the fast break wearing a grin? Of course not, just as you couldn't really blame Andres Nocioni for snivelling through the end of the 17-win season. Pain is easy to rationalize as a fan, but less so as a player. Think if you worked at Enron during the collapse. There goes your life, right?

But there's something to be said for effort in the face of doom, and the Wolves didn't have any Sunday night in the Kings' 114-100 rampage. Sacramento beat 'Sota to nearly every loose ball, contested rebound, in transition. The Kings played spirited team defense, and a ball-moving, sinuous offense. Minnesota? It looked as if everyone just wanted to get their numbers and move on. I don't know how many Ryan Hollins iso plays I can watch without vomiting. Those players don't trust each other at all, and it's easy to understand why.

The Kings, also doomed in terms of record, come out to play. Sometimes, like in the final Portland game, it doesn't work. Sometimes the shots aren't there, the opponent is too good, the defense is too permeable. But if the effort is always there, wins will come -- see the Toronto game, see Sunday night. Wins like this make the hard, hopeless work in the Portland game worth it.

As such, cheers to both the coaching staff and the team's on-court leaders for getting this much out of the team in this circumstances. It's a massive difference from last season, well-appreciated by this fan.

***

It has now been said by about 15 million others, but let me agree: if Tyreke Evans strokes his jumpers with anywhere near that consistency in the future, and if he continues to develop his court vision, he is unguardable. He looked like Deron Williams out there!

***

Did anyone see Kurt Rambis open his mouth or shift his gaze once? He looked like a zombie out there!

***

Ryan Hollins is a disaster. That Rambis refuses to play his deck and start Al Jefferson and Kevin Love together is indefensible so long as the centers on his roster are named Ryan Hollins, Darko Milicic and Nathan Jawai. I know Love missed this game, as did Darko, but it's been a season-long issue. Love could very well be his team's best player. It isn't like Hollins has kept the team afloat defensively, right? (This is where I stroke my own ego and note I advocated against Hollins in the offseason. He is not an NBA-level player. The Big Sky conference has a couple big men more NBA ready than Ryan Hollins.)

***

The Donte Greene Show was fantastic -- I highly recommend watching it on Hulu if you missed it. Can't wait until the Season 2 DVD comes out. Perfect stocking stuffer. Buying it for all my relatives.

***

Evans has 27 rebounds over his last three games. I like to think he saw the Reke-o-meter and got his rebounding tail into gear. He's now on pace to hit 20/5/5. Unbelievable.

***

Jason Thompson wore the top hat tonight, kids. Fifteen and eight with two blocks in just 22-1/2 minutes. He defended Jefferson pretty well, too, which was a welcome sight. I hear J.T.'s back is bothering him still (no surprise, he farking fractured two bones, like, a couple weeks ago!), so color me doubly impressed by this output. He's averaging about 13 points in 23 minutes over the past three games.

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