Minnesotans enjoy five things: Alcohol, adultery, all-terrain vehicles, sadness and going to work at 6:15 in the morning. Professional sporting events allow them to engage in only two of these pastimes (though the crafty Iowans are good for the occasional triple double).
As an expatriated Piston fan, their loss is my gain. Behold, the best seats $50 can buy.
(h/t: Ian Cortez, a Pistons fan from Colorado who can take better pictures than I can. I am NOT the most talented wedding photographer in Ontario... Or anywhere.)
Notice the empty seats. Yeah, they didn't fill up much during the game. As per last year, the most crowded section was behind the Piston bench. I am certain there are more Pistons fans in this city than T-Wolves fans.
Being near midcourt gave me a great vantage point of a sullen Rip Hamilton during pre-game introdcutions. He's the dejected looking fellow in the Headband.
(h/t: My brother Andy, who let me uses his camera phone when I couldn't get mine to work)
You can tell he's not used to checking into the game late in the first quarter.
The game itself proved pretty exciting, even though the Target Center is the most depressing place in the world to watch a basketball game. A few observations:
-Kevin Love is legit. He's an excellent counter-point to Al Jefferson on offense, as he has an excellent midrange game to go with top-tier offensive rebounding. It is absurd that he has not won the starting job.
-Detroit's first half defense was non-existent. It's weird to see players up close who are not actively engaged on that end of the court. T-Wolves fans must be used to it, though.
-Leaving Mike Miller alone at the three point line is an interesting choice.
-Kwame Brown is really tall.
-So is the Pistons coaching staff.
-Last year, I mentioned the "superfan" who sits in the front row and bangs his program against the ground a lot. A few months ago, I was in a Salvation Army shop and found a bobblehead of him. That is the best dollar I have ever spent.
-I was unaware that, up to that point, Minnesota had the league's best record in 2009.
-Rumors of AI picking it up on defense seem to be confirmed. I found myself screaming "Nice 'D' AI". He actually turned his head. He probably hasn't heard that very often.
-If I am going to mention that K-Love is legit, I should note that Big Al Jefferson is a beast. It's not often you find a guy that big who moves that well.
-Sebastian Telfair? Not even remotely legit.
-Victory! The players race off the court (plane to catch?), but AI hangs around for a postgame that you can tell he's really into. He looks downright silly in a headset.