During this three-game losing streak the Wolves have yet to hold an opponent under 50% shooting from the field. Tonight, the Grizzlies shot 52.7% from the field which is actually the lowest during the three-game losing streak!
Add to that, the fact that the Wolves haven't held an opponent under 100 points since March 1st, as Minnesota's last 11 opponents have scored 101 or more. It's clear that the Wolves are playing their worst basketball at the most inopportune time.
The Wolves will finish out of the playoff picture for a tenth consecutive season (the longest such stretch for any NBA team). The race for the bottom two seeds in the West is down to three teams: Phoenix, Memphis & Dallas.
If the Wolves can remain in 10th place in the West, they'll keep their lottery pick in the upcoming draft. If they finish 9th in the West, they'll be the best team that doesn't make the playoffs and finish with the 14th pick, which means the pick would go to the Suns.
As per usual, another season winds down with Wolves Nation looking forward to the draft and not the postseason.
The one thing that sticks out to me these last few weeks is the Timberwolves' complete disregard for playing any kind of scheme resembling an effective NBA defense. When you allow opponents to shoot over 50% from the field and score in the 100s every night out, you're not going to win games.
After Minnesota's loss to the Suns on Sunday afternoon, Adelman came out and said the Wolves problem in the second half of that game was that "We didn't score". He's certainly correct, but if the Wolves had made any kind of effort on defense, perhaps they wouldn't have allowed Phoenix to score 127 points and shoot 57.5% from the field. This team's problem isn't scoring, it's preventing the other team from doing so.
Tonight was more the same and unlike in most games, the Wolves were flat from the start. Minnesota is the NBA's best first quarter scoring team and the NBA's worst shooting fourth quarter team. They held true to that putrid shooting mark, but they scored just 15 points in the first quarter while they average more than double that mark. It was all bad from the get go and the Wolves are now one game below .500--truly one step forward (two games over .500) and ten steps back.
Kevin Love had one of his worst outings of the year. He finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds & 4 assists in 34 minutes, but finished with a -32 in +/-. I don't think I've ever seen him finish with a worse +/-. He was the worst on the team, followed by a -26 from Rubio & a -20 from Martin. When you're Top 3 (healthy) players struggle like they did tonight, the Wolves (with one of the NBA's worst bench) don't really stand a chance.
Gorgui Dieng finished with his fourth career double-double in his 5-straight start. He finished with 11 points & 17 rebounds along with 1 assist & 1 steal. Needless to say, I'm glad I picked him up for the fantasy playoffs! His future in the NBA and with the Wolves definitely incites some excitement in yet another disappointing season.
Mike Conley led the charge for the Grizzlies with his 23 points, Zach Randolph added 17 and without Nikola Pekovic to counter Memphis' bruising big man, Marc Gasol finished with 14 points & 12 rebounds.
The Wolves will continue their march to the NBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday night vs. the Atlanta Hawks at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Tipoff is set for 7pmCST.