The Minnesota Timberwolves have become known for their hot starts at the beginning of games this season, but on Monday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Wolves managed just 15 first-quarter points and eventually lost 109-92.
The loss to the Grizzlies puts the Timberwolves seven games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference, and with just 13 games remaining, it appears as if the season is all but over. They tried to contend for a playoff spot throughout the season, but the lack of effort and aggressiveness they showed on Monday is further proof that this team has given up on the 2014 season.
They once again failed to play solid interior defense, but some of that can be attributed to Gorgui Dieng getting tagged with his fourth foul just minutes into the second half. Dieng started the game at center and impressed once again as he recorded his fourth double-double in the last week and a half. He hasn’t gotten real minutes until recently, but it’s no longer a secret that he’s been the Wolves most impressive rookie this season.
Nikola Pekovic continues to miss time due to lingering injuries, and while his absence could partially be the reason why the Wolves have now lost three games in a row, the lack of emotion this team shows on the court is the likely cause and a concerning observation as well.
Defense is all about intensity and effort, and the Wolves have been near the bottom of the league all season in defensive efficiency, something that’s not surprising if you’ve watched them routinely. Sure, this team was constructed to score points, which they routinely do at a high level, but they won’t be making a playoff appearance anytime soon if their defense doesn’t improve.
The second thing that’s concerning with how this team looked Monday night is the effect that head coach Rick Adelman is having on his players. If Adelman continues to trot out a .500 squad year after year, the last thing he needs is his players not playing hard for him. After such a disappointing 2014 season, I feel as if Adelman should be on the hot seat, and if the Timberwolves don’t finish out the season strong, management may begin to feel the same way.