The Minnesota Timberwolves started out the season destroying teams with their offense; they put together a series of impressive wins and held one of the better records in the NBA for a while. Since then, reality has set in. The Timberwolves have lost six of their past eight games, and are below .500 winning percentage for the first time this year, sitting at 8-9. This won’t be good enough to make the playoffs in the Western Conference this year, so the Wolves need to bounce back hard to remain in contention.
The good thing about their recent losses is that almost all of them have been close, and almost all of them have been against probable playoff teams. The bad thing is, their schedule isn’t getting any easier, as they face the Dallas Mavericks, Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat in their next four games. Eking out even two victories against these high caliber teams will be a challenge, but it’s one the Wolves must meet.
The Wolves have looked capable of beating their opponents in nearly all of their losses this season, but to beat the best teams in the league, they’ll need to do more than just keep close. Winning close games against playoff teams requires clutch shooting and making important stops. The Wolves have struggled with both of these things, and it’s no surprise that most of their wins have been blowouts, while most of their losses have been heart breakers that went down to the final possessions.
While the season is still young, the Timberwolves have looked good in spite of their record, and figure to be a playoff team. As the season progresses, however, they will need to address some serious issues and learn to finish games if they want to compete this season.