3 On 3 Preview And Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

Phillip Barnett —  February 4, 2014

1. With both Steve Nash and Steve Blake back, how do you think the Lakers should approach the rotation for these two guys specifically?

Darius: D’Antoni has already said that Nash will play the first 6-8 minutes of each half and that’s it. I think this is the smart move as it should help him remain loose after warm-ups and not have to go into the game cold after going to the bench for any extended amount of time. As for Blake, I’d like to see him ease his way back into the lineup and play 20-25 minutes. That said, I’d prefer Blake play more point guard than shooting guard if playing against any other lineup than the Rubio/Barea combination the ‘Wolves can throw out there. As we saw earlier this year, Blake performed much better when he was at the point and in trying to put him in the best position to succeed, I’d like to see his minutes come at that spot. Considering Nash’s court time should be around 15 minutes, Blake and Marshall should both be able to see extensive time at the point without it being an issue.

Phillip: It’s been reported that Nash likely won’t play more than 10-16 minutes tonight, and only the first few minutes of each half. With that said, I think the most ideal situation would be for D’Antoni to split the rest of the time at point guard between Steve Blake and Kendall Marshall. It wouldn’t make sense to play Blake a huge number of minutes in his first game back in about two months. Staggering the minutes Nash isn’t on the floor between Blake and Marshall should make things a seamless transition for all point guards involved.

2. Considering both Nash and Blake were immediately thrown into the starting role, what are you expecting from Kendall Marshall off the bench? Does his new role affect his mindset in tonight’s game?

Darius: I hope Marshall’s mindset doesn’t change at all. He is at his best setting up others, but he needs to continue to balance that with looking for his own offense when an opening is there. Considering he’s likely to see a dip in minutes, I would also like to see him extend a bit more effort on the defensive side of the ball. Marshall will never be a strong defender — his athletic limitations make it so he’ll struggle defending in space and against quick attacking players — but he can do a bit more to hustle back on D, look to make the extra rotation more often, and generally try to do more of the dirty work that is required of the guards when the big men are forced to help outside the paint. These have not been areas where Marshall has done well at this season, but with less responsibility to guide the offense for most of the game, maybe that can change.

Phillip: I’m obviously reaching here, but one of the benefits of having such a limited roster since Marshall joined the team is that there isn’t much of a disparity in talent from his court mates when he was starting to who he’ll be asked to lead when he enters the game as a reserve. From that standpoint, his mindset should remain consistent with what he’s had in the last month and do the things that have found him the most success. Keep his teammates involved, continue to initiate the offense and look for his shots when the opportunities present themselves. He’s been doing better with the latter in the last couple of weeks, but that’s going to continue to be his weakness on the offensive end because of the nature of his game.

3. What is the single most important factor in the Lakers recording a win tonight?

Darius: Can we make sure Kevin Love’s car doesn’t have snow tires? Because if he doesn’t show up tonight, the Lakers’ chances of winning go up dramatically. In all seriousness, getting Love to play a below average game is the team’s best chance to win. Ryan Kelly will need to do his best to stick with Love on the perimeter and the entire team will need to battle on the glass to make sure that he doesn’t have one of those 20 rebound nights with 8-10 on the offensive side. A 20 and 10 night from Love can be countered with production from enough Lakers to keep the game close. A 35 and 18 night and the Lakers are likely sunk.

Phillip: Keep the game close. One of the strangest narratives to follow this season has been the ‘Wolve’s inability to close out close games. This isn’t to say that the Lakers have been excellent down the stretch, but the Timberwolves propensity to lose those games has become a story this year. They’re currently 4-15 in games decided two possessions with seven of those losses being one-possession games and three of them losses by a single point. Neither of the previous games have been close (blowouts going both ways), but a close game could prove to be interesting and contribute to a story that’s been developing all season.

Where you can watch: 5 p.m. on TWC SportsNet or you can listen on ESPN 710.

Phillip Barnett

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57 responses to 3 On 3 Preview And Chat: The Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. Scott and Worthy bashing MD over lack of playing Kamen.

    What else is new .

    Counting the days until end of this guy.

  2. Just heard MDA is going to play meeks at sf and start both steves at the guard positions. If this doesn’t say tank, I don’t know what will.

  3. -Will this new line up improve the Lakers rebounding & defense?

    -Pau time away from team has been modified from “2 or 3 games” to 2 weeks. Hmmm, trading deadlne is about 2 weeks away.

  4. You know Ko? Count me in, cant understand how he plays a scrub like Sacre over Kaman, i mean what he did? A couple of dirty deeds cross my mind. It is me or this new Pau injury timelne is a ploy to put him on the shelf so he dont agravate that injury b4 the deadline?

  5. Fern

    I feel it’s past the point to think the FO has some great plan. Seems they are just making it up as they go.

    We know the best 5 current players are Hill, Kamen, Young, Meeks and one of the 4 guards.

    We don’t own the team though.

  6. Does MDA consider defense when constructing line-ups?

    Lakers are likely to get smoked in the first quarter.

  7. Welcome back Steve Nash.

  8. Ko: I assume you have some inside scoop as to how Jim and Mitch tell the coach who to play, Would love to hear it if you do, otherwise it sounds like a rumor to me.

    I was under the impression that the coaches do the line ups. Its true that the FO has some power by firing coaches, but what do we gain at this point in the season by doing so?

  9. Get Steve Blake and Steve Nash back and Jodie Meeks hurts his ankle. Hopefully Meeks is okay and will return.

  10. Yeesh – nash hits his first shot and immediately meeks gets hurt by brewer stepping under

  11. Solution

    Exorcism

  12. nice oop from nash to young

  13. to wes johson sorry. Nash looks pretty damn decent so far.

  14. Meeks sprains his right ankle and will not return.

  15. Meeks done for the night…A Kamen sighting

  16. What a terribly coached team . Clueless on defense again.

  17. lmao at anyone who thinks that Kaman is a solution to this team’s woes….

    at least Nash looked like a reasonable semblance of himself. of course, someone had to go down…

  18. Last 5 games Nick had shown why he has been passed around for 5 years. Fundamentally bad.

  19. 4pts/4 assists/1 steal, 2-2 fga’s and no turnovers for Nash. Not a bad way to start.

  20. Kaman making strong argument for why Sacre should start over him so far.

  21. What u want Jerke? He havent play in like 6 months lol

  22. lol Fern fair enough.

    this is prob more mins than orginally planned for Nash, but his legs look good and he’s playing well. the nerve stuff isn’t going to be aggravated by more playing time – either it hurts or it doesn’t so if Nash can handle the mins he might as well be out there.

  23. Nice start for Jelly Kelly.

    1 for 7 with 1 rebound.

    Running out of guys to play. Might have to play 5 guards at once.

  24. Its not really fair to judge Kaman on his performance today given his lack of playing time. Dude is going to be rusty and out of sync with the rest of the guys.

    I’m with most of you that I do not understand why he is in the dog house. We may find out in the off season from Kaman or MDA why that is the case. I guess we will also find out if the FO agrees with the benching based on whether they retain MDA for another year or agree to buy him out.

  25. What about having a contest?

    Anyone that wants to guess how many games Lakers win this year.

    Closest gets a case of my best California or Italian Wine.

    Any players?

  26. Twolves were prob best team for Nash to come back against – uptempo game so he gets his legs worked good, pace allows him to work in rythm and get plenty of shots up if he wants them, and can mark Rubio on d so he doesn’t have to work terribly hard on that end.

    Jordan Hill out rest of game w headache/cervical sprain

  27. I’ll go with 28 wins

  28. Looks like that lineup worked.

    Rebounds 28 to 13

    Cool!

  29. What happened to the 10-16 minutes restriction for Nash? He’s already at 16 minutes.

    Did MDA not learn anything by overplaying Kobe, instead of easing him back after a long layoff? This clueless coach is an absolute joke.

  30. LT

    Oxymoron

    MD and Learn

  31. Rusty Shackleford February 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Stu Lantz sounded surprised that the Lakers gave up 70 points in the 1st half. They did it to this same team earlier this season with a less injured squad. Stu probably has to drink heavily to prep himself for games this season.

  32. LT – the nerve stuff isn’t going to be aggravated by more playing time – either it hurts or it doesn’t so if Nash can handle the mins he might as well be out there if he wants to play. What they have to worry about more is a random bump etc… that he’s not prepared for that would knock everything out of alignment, but that could happen whenever. Besides which, if Blake is ok and Farmar good to go tomorrow, Nash is going to sit @ Cleveland – so he might as well play and see if he can handle a legit playing time role. Shame Gasol is out – between him and Nash this game would be much closer just because of their offensive prowess

  33. my god – Steve Blake has a ruptured eardrum from the first half, is going to play thru.

  34. I’m really pissed right now. Those injuries getting worst and asking myself why these things are happening.

    This is really unfair…

  35. Kevin Ding tweeted Steve Blake ruptured his right eardrum earlier in the game. He’s playing anyway.

  36. Lakers win this game if Hill played.

    And of course if Kelly never got off the bench. 2 for 12 and a minus 13 .

    Rather keep Harris and send Jelly down. Least he has athletic ability.

    Thought Nash looked good. No reason for Blake to be out there. Can’t shoot the ball.

  37. Dave McMenamin ?@mcten 11m
    X-rays were negative on Meeks’ R ankle but D’Antoni said the sprain will keep Jodie out the rest of the road trip at least

    Dave McMenamin ?@mcten 8m
    Manny Harris said he was told before the game that he would not be retained the rest of the season. Then went out and dropped 19 pt

    Guess Harris prob gets to stick around another couple of games

    Nash – 3-6, 7 pts/9 asts, 1 steal, 2 to’s in 25 mins. Not a bad night. now just have to wait thru the night and see what the teams says about his condition tomorrow

  38. Like I said Harris has way more upside then half the guys on the team.

  39. Mike Bresnahan ?@Mike_Bresnahan 2m
    Nash says this is the best his back has felt all season. Says it didn’t inhibit him at all. Had 7 points, 9 assists.

  40. Harris has to be signed for the rest of the season or waived(per Ireland)

  41. He just got waived 10 minutes ago. Apparently he played to well tonight and messed up plans of FO to be really bad.

  42. Ko, I’ll take 30 wins even and prefer Italian over Californian (although some of the Ridge wines are fantastic). I must admit that watching these games – and, like you, I watch them all – has definitely resulted in an uptake of my wine/spirits consumption.

    Amarone, or Brunello di M.? Either one would make an aborted Marshall to Young alley-oop easier to take….

    edit: this is lil’ pau. although my new browser apparently disagrees…. If the Lakers move Pau, I will henceforth be known as lil’ xavier.

  43. Funny stuff . lil Pau
    Suns pulled out of Pau deal so your name may be safe. Have many good Italian but our 2 best is a Malbec from Argentina that won Malbec of the year and a cab from Napa called Troon Bridge with only 50 cases produced and each bottle hand numbered. Behind great.

    The perfect thing for a Laker fan like me is a warehouse full of wine since I have been doing so much wining this year. Worst season in my 40 years of fandom.

  44. Ko, put me down for 27 wins. Please notice that this side of Europe has some really good wines so you need to impress me ;)

    Anyway, judging Kaman on the first minutes after being benched for so long is unfair to him. Let the guys shake some rust off and get his timing. Kaman has proved over the years that he belongs in the NBA and has some skill. Kelly and Sacre haven’t proved anything yet.

    MannyP, firing MDA would tell everyone that they can recognize a mistake and have a plan in place. It would also make Lakerland more attractive to other free agent big men who may be RFA’s or not. Or they can keep him until the end of this season and fire him after the last game. That would be the way to go…

  45. I agree Renato but would it not be really cool to let him go during last game of the year in the 4th quarter?

    And have Kamen hand him the pink slip!

    Where in Europe are you as we have wines from many countries?

  46. Ko – im in for the contest – I say we get to 24 wins

    Looked at the back half of our schedule and I cant see us winning too many games especially woth kobe possibly out for the year

    Hoefully the veto curse gets lifted at the draft

  47. KO – Before the year started I thought we had a 25 win team. I simply thought that Kobe would miss more time than anticipated coming back from his Achilles injury. Wrong about that specific injury – although he still has missed a lot of games with another.

    There is very little margin for error in the NBA. You need two or three very good players combined with a few good players and add to that a nice bench. Aside from Miami, which at one time could roll out three of the top 15 players in the league, this is a formula to compete. For the most part I thought the Lakers would be starting and giving a lot of minutes to guys that would be bench/role players on a quality team.

  48. Ko, I’m in Portugal. So, yeah, we have good wines and easy access to wines in countries nearby.

    And yes, having Kaman hand him the pink slip during a time out in the 4th quarter of the last game would be awesome. Actually, if I was him I would make a fake pink slip and hand it to him anyway!!

  49. Ko
    I’d love to win a case of wine.
    If I lose, I’ll buy a bottle at least.
    Put me down for 26 wins.

    Nash looked good last night.
    Hope he stays healthy.
    A little surprised Blake played 32 minutes with a broken eardrum. He was clearly hesitant to shoot.

    Add Manny Harris to the list of former Lakers that will soon be making a name for himself in the league. He seems like he has tons of potential and in my opinion may very soon (if not already) be more versatile than Nick Young.
    Cutting Harris makes no sense to me especially with Meeks going down.

  50. I saw the Article in the LA times that the Suns felt the Lakers were asking for too much. I would be interested to know just what “too much” is. Nothing really stated about what each side was proposing. I think the talks will continue with each side trying to get the best deal. I would think the Suns pick would be fair or the Pacers pick with a 2nd rounder thrown in. Less then that and I would just hold onto Pau.

  51. Ko: Put me down for 32 wins. Call me an optimist.

    Renato: I do not understand the Kaman and Hill doghousing and the lack of defense is appalling (although presumably Rambis shares the blame). However, I strongly believe that there were personnel issues that occurred last season and this season completely outside of MDAs control (i.e. injuries and composition of the roster) so I believe its unfair to criticize MDA without taking these into account. Nevertheless, as Ko, rr, Rober, you and many others have pointed out, perception is an important factor to consider when trying to recruit free agents and, unfortunately for MDA, the perception that he “does not teach defense” and is not a “championship caliber” coach continues to grow as the losses pile up. In my opinion, this has grown to such a level where the FO will have to act on it – even if they do not agree with the criticism.

    So, my guess is that the FO will likely make a coaching change in order to combat the perception that this ship is sinking. I know for some this would mean cutting ties with MDA 2-3 weeks before the season ends would send a loud message to free agents before they get caught up in the playoffs. However, I personally think that the FO should wait until after the NBA season is over (after the Finals) to part ways with MDA as it would be the respectful thing to do given the way things played out for him.

    Of course, this course of action presumes that we could get a “championship caliber” coach who “teaches defense” as a replacement. That is a tall order. The guy I covet the most is presently employed by Chicago so you cannot realistically rely on him as an option. Some of the candidates people on this board advocate for are also unavailable (Phil says he’s done coaching; Shaw seems to be OK in Denver; Popovich is not going anywhere, Sloan is retired, Red Aurbach is dead, same goes for Coach Wooden). So, unfortunately, we are left with the likes of the Van Gundy bros and B Scott as potential alternatives – none of which are (in my opinion) championship caliber dudes. Not sure if there are any other dudes out there who would be worth a shot (maybe Coach K?).

    So, again, we should beware what we wish for – because we may just get it.

  52. I wonder if Blake will suit up now wearing the following headgear to avoid injury:

    http://cdn2.bigcommerce.com/server2400/2f7bf/products/3321/images/4625/0293Webshot__54697.1300225468.1280.1280.jpg

    [This is a joke]

  53. Wow a low of 24 wins to high of 30. By the way MD will not be allowed to play on this contest!

  54. i will go with 33 wins! (sadly hoping for less)

  55. Ko,

    Has anyone selected 29 wins? (I’m an optimist.) If not, put me down.

    If MDA gets canned before the end of the year, I get 2 bottles. Your choice.

  56. Funny having Kaman give MDA the pink slip.

    Funnier having him write one out himself even if it’s fake.

    Redundant:
    Does anyone else feel Harris should have been retained?
    If they are using finances as an excuse, isn’t that about the worst case of a team being penny-wise and pound-foolish in sports history? (Kobe’s extension)
    It’s exasperating.
    I guarantee that Harris will be picked up elsewhere.
    Scoring 19 points in an NBA game, or 40+ in a D-league game ( as Harris has) requires a high level of skill.
    What is Sacre’s career high?
    Kelly’s?
    Grrrrrrrr

  57. Mid if they fire the Dd brothers this season you have wine for months.