Wolves Week 14
The NBA is still a fairly young professional sports organization. Some of the franchises have existed for years before it's establishment while some, like the Timberwolves, are much younger. Since it's introduction into the NBA the Minnesota Timberwolves have had a tumultuous existence. Few playoff appearances. Few great players. And thus no true rivalry with any of the other teams.
Going into this year, it was thought that a rivalry with Utah may start to grow because of their trajectory. Well Minnesota hasn't been as good as many thought it would be so I don't think that's the team to fit the billing. Tonight's opponent may fill that void soon.
First they both have to make the playoffs and face each other there. But the seeds of it may be the fact that they're in the same division.
Game's like tonights only serve to fortify the possibility. Instead of wilting under the pressure of a fourth quarter tie the team rose up and sealed the victory in the final minutes of the game. Towns, Wiggins, Dunn & Muhammed got it done in big ways tonight. Every point that they dropped was crucial, as Lavine and Dieng both had invisible nights on offense. A good win, a nice win. Hopefully it's the first seed of a rivalry that will hopefully rise to the level of the great ones of the past for the Wolves!
From 12 games below .500 managing to get into the eighth seed of the Western Conference seems like a joke befitting of a Twin Cities comedy club. I think it's unlikely that the Pups will not only be able to win enough games to bridge the gap but in so doing also jump the teams ahead of them. A mere 2.5 game differential is all that separates the Timberwolves and the Denver Nuggets, who currently have claim of the eight seed. Between the Nuggets and Wolves sit the Trailblazers, Pelicans & Kings.
That's not exactly a murderers row of opponents but each one has at least one elite VETERAN player. The Western conference's top teams are still a tough thing to crack into. If the Timberwolves are going to get it done this year it starts this week. They beat the Clippers & the Nuggets in the last few days. Advantageously they have the Suns, Pacers, Nets and Magic as the next four opponents. Each of those games are also very winnable. Borderline must wins if the Timberwolves want to keep the window open for them to sneak into the post season.
They've already managed to win 5 of their last 7 wins, all outside the state of Texas. Win the next four and they'll be on a six game win streak. Playoffs or not, that would be a great step toward the more imminent goal of getting over the 30 win mark. It all adds up to this being one of the most important stretches of the season for the kids from first avenue!
Shout, Nod & Move on
The first game of the rest of the season didn't disappoint...over the final 12.1 seconds. Wolves teams of the past may have lost this one by 20 or 30 points. The current form of the team took after the new president and just continued to counter punch as the Suns made plays and kept the game close.
A wonderful reminder that Wiggins can be the key competent on a winning night.
For the team overall, there was little by way of style points. Some superb passes out of the gate and enough plays through the game were made for it to be finished off at the buzzer. Luckily style points have no impact on the record and a win is a win. It brings the team one step closer to the goals and likely gives the coaches several things to talk about tomorrow.
So enjoy a fun finish to an otherwise frustrating game with whatever method you deem deserving then move on. Because the sad fact is that it was a narrow victory for the third straight game over a team with several flaws. Great teams and maybe even just good teams, would not have let the Suns hang around the way that Minnesota did tonight. But as I said, a wins still a win.
So it's time to move on from it and hope that they can do just enough, and ideally more, to make it four in a row on Thursday night.
Circus at the Center
High flying displays of athleticism and talent are on no shortage on game days at Target Center during the Timberwolves seasons. On the day that the clownish NBA all star team reserves were announced, things got more acrobatic then normal on the hard wood. One play in particular exemplified the circus but it's not available yet.
Inexplicably the video was never cut down to the one play but it made it's way into the highlight video, at the 25 second mark, so go check it out!
It's like reason C why the all star game roster is a joke but on the day that he found out he wouldn't be amongst the entrants (at least as of now), the TimberKat roared again. 33/10/4. Not the most flashy stat line that he's finished with but none too shabby either. Wiggins and Laving chipping in for 21 & 23 respectively helped and Rubio got his standard double digit in assists but the rest of the team was flat. I've been hesitant to dismiss him but in particular it's time for Bjeli to become Bjenchi. I don't see his defense becoming competent and his offense may be worse.
No...no, it's not, but his offense isn't good either.
Put Rush in. Heck put Payne or Hill in the game. I don't care, just sit him on one of those padded chairs already.
But ringmaster Thibodeau has all three rings going at once so the odds of it happening are about as high as my odds of getting drafted by any athletic organization. So enjoy the circus ya'll. It won't always be fun though. 😒
Ugly but Effective
I don't think there's another way to describe this one. It was a comfortably win for the Wolves but a team as bad as Brooklyn should be held under a 100 points. If the level of defense necessary for that means scoring a few less points, I would be more then fine with that trade. As recently as a year ago the Timberwolves were where the Brooklyn Nets are now. I don't want to revel in the misery of another franchise because of that but honestly it feels good to not cheer for the worst team in the NBA.
Everything else is ancillary to that. The Timberwolves are not the worst team in the NBA anymore!
Lavine's sweet stroke
Kat continuing to dominate
Having six players in double figures
Being careful with the basketball
All of it pales to the over riding fact that the Timberwolves are not the worst. They still have a lot of work to do in order to live up to the billing of their talents but I'll take ugly play if it's effective and keeps them from being the worst in the NBA!