The Minnesota Timberwolves had yet another opportunity to get over .500 for the 2013-14 NBA season and saw yet another opportunity slip away. Playing against the still rolling Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, the Wolves didn’t have enough firepower and ultimately fell by a score of 115-104.
The Wolves offense played relatively well, putting up 104 points on 42.7 percent shooting and 40.9 percent shooting from long-range. They could have used more offense from All-Star starter Kevin Love, who finished with just 15 points on 4-12 shooting, but their biggest problem, as has continually been the case this season, was that their bench failed to deliver much at all.
The five Minnesota bench players that played more than one minute on Saturday combined for just 15 points on 4-13 shooting from the floor. While Portland’s bench wasn’t masterful by any means, they at least had Mo Williams coming in as a reserve to score 16 points. That’s something that the Wolves have been lacking this season.
Love and the Wolves now sit at 21-22 for the season, three games out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The expectation was for this team coming in at full-health—unlike last season—was that they could seriously compete to make the postseason at the bottom of the playoff standings. Though it’d help if they were a better defensive team, their bench not aiding their offensive output has been their biggest limitation thus far.
I’ve speculated before that the Wolves might need to make a move at the NBA Trade Deadline to bring in a bench scorer, but that move now seems vital to their success. Chase Budinger hasn’t come around in quite the way that the Wolves have expected and the rest of their reserves have consistently been untrustworthy. We’ll see what moves are out there to be made for Minnesota.