Wolves Week 10
Kicking it off on Christmas against the future MVP in OKC. A tall task indeed. If this "step" that they're taking isn't merely a mirage then they need these kinds of games to prove it. After the Thunder they get the Atlanta at home on Monday, head to Denver on Wednesday and finish out the 2016 at home against the Giannis.
Hopefully they will be able to make it a fun week as more eyes will undoubtedly be on them with the decline of the Skol. Show em something!
The expected result. Again, the undesired one. Rx3 was held under a triple double, which may be some consolation and it was a close game for the most part. They lost the third quarter again but this wasn't much of a back step, they just aren't as good as the Thunder right now.
I had hoped they would be. Had thought that the Thunder would be less then they were - how can you lose Kevin Durant and not be a worse team. But Westbrook is still on a tear. The departure of his running mate is still a thorn in his side, as evidenced by this video. Bitterness isn't a good look and isn't healthy but motivation can come from such things and seems to be. Yet the Wolves held him under a triple double.
The rest of the Thunder picked up the small amount of slack. At one point Enes Kanter had more points and assists then the the Wolves bench. I knew that one of the other guys would need to step up for the Wolves to get the job done but it didn't happen. Loss number 21. Is anybody else ready for 2016 to be in the rearview mirror? It's been a terrible year for Min-Dak sports.
Maybe the Timberwolves can manage a .500 record once it's 2017. Or at least at some point before the season is over. Like over a week or a month or something. Progress.
Anyway, as expected they lost again. It was nice that they got the Christmas day game though, right?
Howlin' for Home Cookin'
After spending Christmas in Oklahoma the Pups came home to face the Hawks for the second time in the last week. The first win was a nice one, the second one flat out sizzled. They may have only finished up 14 points but the disparity was far more then that. The Hawks only managed three players in double figures, with Dwight Howard highest for their unit.
In contrast, the Wolves managed five players in double digits. As has often been the case, Rubio was the low man on the starter scoring totem pole. For the second game in a row he tallied 10 assists with no turnovers. This isn't Hockey so assists don't count for points but 10 of em are valuable for at least 20 points. If Rubio can do it again tomorrow he'll be the first in NBA history to do so.
And then there was the work that the pack leader did. 22 points on 11 total shots, three of them at the charity stripe. 100%. 🔥🔥🔥
I can go on and on and on. These boys can do unheard of things on the court and none have come close to hitting their ceilings. Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals. They can run over most teams when they are able to complete those elements.
I think I'm actually starting to feel good about the fact that the Wolves are one of the two teams to play before the calendar turns. They're hot right now, even with some of the recent losses. A .500 record seems very feasible & even surpassable right now. Don't step back. Please don't take that typical Minnesota pro sports teams moon walk! Suddenly having Thibs' ferocity on the bench will be more then comical, it will be amongst the most beneficial of factors. They just needed that home cooking the day after Christmas to achieve the things they can.
Mile High Shortcomings
Another loss by the Timberwolves. This one was slightly different then the rest, for what that's worth. After coming out sizzling through the first quarter, they struggled to maintain even a shade of the pace. The game was tied at half time but they lost the third quarter as well as the second which left them down eight going into the fourth. Denver managed to extend that lead to double digits several times before the end of the game.
The fact that the Wolves only lost by two is the best testament to Towns' potential that there has been yet this year. He did everything. Rebounds, put backs, blocked a shot, handled the ball on a break. Every bit of the skill that he has been lauded for was on display. Why it took til the last minute for it to come out is a question that I can't answer.
Maybe it's that he can't maintain the level of intensity required for much longer then that. Maybe it hadn't come out earlier because of a lack of focus. Maybe he just finally managed to flip that switch. I don't know, but I LOVED it! Two minutes of that kind of performance could have gotten them the win. It was just too late in the game for it to bring them all the way back.
Sure, the final 15 seconds could have been handled differently. I think that Thibs wanted the team to take the ball and win without having to call the final time out. If that was the strategy it didn't work but is applaudable as a teaching moment. With the upward nature of the season lately, one can only hope that the youngsters are able to commit this lesson to memory for next time.
Ending on a High Note
365 days of uncertainty but upside are coming to a close. There are still questions in need of answering and facts yet to be found but the circus that was 2016 is coming to an end, finally.
The Wild get the designation of last game of 2016 and with how they've been playing lately, it is will deserved. The Wolves got the undercard to the Christmas colors. They arguably couldn't have done better with the opportunity.
The up and down nature of the team is still concerning but if their lows are higher then they used to be then that is a good sign of the progress that they seem to be making. I didn't hear or read any quotes about it but I wonder if the fact that they were playing the much ballyhooed Bucks gave them the extra spring. The big dunks are one thing but they were also moving the ball well and making some nice plays on defense.
The boys just keep finding new ways to impress game by game, win or lose. The question or desire rather, that I had during the game was simple but probably won't actually happen. It was to see how coach responds to the players.
I've heard his quotes and his frequent yelling during games but rare have been the times when his expressions and body language have come through the broadcast. If they just had a little picture in picture in the corner of the screen just showing Thibs I wouldn't complain. Won't happen, but would be a nice change.
In any case, the Timberwolves got another nice win. It continues the recent run of at least decent play by the Blue & Silver. So as much as it's nice to close the book on the past year of sports, hopefully they continue to trend upward!
Happy New Year Timberwolves Fans!