It’s been a fairly tumultuous week for T-Wolves Gaming. Shortly after wrapping up an episode of our Procedurally Generated Podcast, where I talked in depth about the struggles the T-Wolves experienced in Week 3, star player Brandon “Hood” Caicedo requested a trade from the team.
Although it’s unclear exactly what prompted the trade request, many speculated that “Hood” has been unhappy with his role with the T-Wolves, and the second highest scoring player in the entire league last year would prefer to always be the team’s first-option on the offensive end of the floor.
After the trade request was announced, a clip from the T-Wolves matchup against Raptors Uprising GC last week made the rounds on Twitter, in which “Hood” can be heard saying, “We’re not good enough” to the rest of his team when discussing the lack of effort on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
While any trade has yet to be announced, “Hood” was completely absent from the T-Wolves training facility this week, as well as from both of the teams’ games on Wednesday night, and has instead chosen to communicate through a series of cryptic messages sent out on Twitter.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t all of the drama that T-Wolves Gaming would experience this week. With the news of the trade request still fresh in everyone’s mind, Josiah Cohen of Dimer2K dropped a bombshell announcement on Monday, stating the T-Wolves gaming had fired their general manager/head coach Shawn Vilvens.
In the announcement of the firing, the team said that Timberwolves/Lynx vice president of technology Justin Butler would assume the position of interim head coach until a new coach/general manager could be found, but didn’t give any further insight into why Vilvens was relieved of his duties.
Of course, because this is 2019 and that’s just what we do now, Vilvens was quick to take to Twitter to attempt to clear some things up and give some words of encouragement to his former players, tagging all of them in his tweet, minus “Hood.”
With all of these new developments still very, very fresh and without any clear resolution thus far, many expected T-Wolves Gaming to come out completely flat in their two matchups this week against Celtics Crossover Gaming and Mavs Gaming.
Game 1: Celtics Crossover Gaming
The main storyline for both teams heading into this game was a change in the lineup combinations. Obviously, this was a necessary move for the T-Wolves because “Hood” was expectedly missing from the game, but the Celtics were looking to shake things up a little bit as well after starting the season 0-4.
The Celtics moved Alexander “ProFusion” Snowden from small forward to center, a move that paid off very early into the game. With seven points in the first quarter, “ProFusion” helped the Celtics jump out to an 18-12 lead, a hole many wondered if the T-Wolves would be able to dig themselves out of.
Early in the second quarter, we got to witness a really great battle between both teams point guards. Micheal “BearDaBeast” Key and Albano “oFab“ Thomallari traded buckets before the T-Wolves were able to go on a 7-0 run and take a 30-27 lead into halftime.
The story of the second half for T-Wolves Gaming was their impenetrable defense, forcing seven turnovers in the game while boxing out on every possession helping them out-rebound the Celtics, 21-14. It was the first time in a few weeks you really saw the five players come together as a team, holding themselves accountable and communicating very well throughout the entire half.
Ultimately, the T-Wolves were able to secure a much-needed victory, taking down Celtics Crossover Gaming by a score of 62-52. “BearDaBeast” took home Player of the Game honors with 27 points and nine rebounds. “JoJo” put up impressive numbers as well, finishing the game with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and Mihad “FEAST” Feratovic nearly had another double-double, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds.
It was an impressive performance by the T-Wolves, who many counted out before the game even started. While it was a great team win, and it was nice to finally see the teammates interacting with each other, smiling and laughing after the game, they were going to have a very tough matchup coming against Mavs Gaming later in the night.
Game 2: Mavs Gaming
Coming into this game against the T-Wolves, Mavs Gaming had won six straight games. While many of the games have finished within five or six points, they have looked absolutely dominant at times, and have been considered to be one of the best teams in the league so far this season.
The first quarter has often been the story for T-Wolves gaming this season, and, unfortunately, it was the story here again. The T-Wolves were only able to score five points in the entire first quarter, and while they were able to hold the Mavs to just 11 points, turnovers became an issue again and it was clear this was going to be an insurmountable battle for the T-Wolves.
They were able to battle back a little bit late into the game, with “JoJo” catching fire from beyond the arc, hitting six threes for what would end up being 18 points for him. Despite this, “BearDaBeast” simply couldn’t get anything going in this game, ending with a staggering nine turnovers and only scoring eight points on 3-of-10 shooting.
Peter “PeteBeBallin” Malin absolutely dominated the T-Wolves in this game, picking up his second straight Player Of The Game honors with his 21 points and 16 rebounds. “NachoTraynor” and “FEAST” reached double digits, but simply could not contain “PeteBeBallin” enough to make the game interesting.
While a gritty win in the first game of the night brought a lot of hope to this team, it was a bit unsettling to see that turnovers and sloppy play continue to be such an issue for the T-Wolves.
It’s unclear how all of the drama with “Hood” will continue to play out, and how long it will be before they are able to hire a new coach, but with the season’s second tournament, THE TURN, coming up next week, it’s obvious that the team needs to start sorting out its issues if they want to make a serious run this season.