The Minnesota Timberwolves have won eight games this year, and all of their victories have come with a margin of eight points or more. While it’s certainly nice to blow out opponents, it’s also important to note that the Timberwolves have lost nine games. Of those nine losses, six of them have been by a margin of eight points or fewer. All six of those games were winnable for the Timberwolves, and if they continue to lose most of their close games, they will not make the playoffs.
Failure to close out in tight games has cost the Wolves their winning record. They have played well, especially offensively, but the Wolves’ record reflects their weaknesses rather than their strengths. This topic has been covered extensively, but the Wolves’ bench is really, really bad. So even when the Wolves hang tight in a game, they essentially fall behind when the second unit is in, then need the starters to play catch up.
This cycle is no doubt tiring, and the starters are unable to make key defensive stops or hit clutch shots toward the end of games.
Winning close games will be key to making the playoffs in an extremely strong Western Conference. Strengthening the bench is clearly a priority, and the trading Derrick Williams for Luc Richard Mbah a Moute shows that the Wolves’ front office realizes this. Still, adding one oft-injured defensive specialist won’t be enough. The Wolves’ second unit will need to improve, or the team will need to make more moves.
The Wolves have a starting five that can keep up with anyone. However, their weaknesses have caught up with them, and ut will continue to haunt them unless something changes.