The TWolves' lack of energy and almost 'unwillingness' to play defense has led us to this: another loss, this one by 24 points to a Phoenix Suns team that relied on it's bench for this seemingly easy win.
The Timberwolves have now dropped six straight games the longest losing streak of the season and the longest losing streak since finishing last year on that 15-game skid. The Wolves are also still winless in April as that losing streak now stretches to 22 consecutive games (the last win coming April 8, 2009 vs. the Golden State Warriors).
It's easy to look at these performances recently and say: This team has given up, especially on the defensive end, which is where Minnesota has been losing since Ricky Rubio went down. Yes, even Kevin Love has given up on the defensive end and it feels as though I'm going crazy when I hear that K-Love is the only Wolf to not give up on this team. That may be true on the offensive end, I'm not denying that by any means, he's an incredible talent on O, but let's be honest, he hasn't been playing defense these past few weeks. Tonight, I counted at least three plays where he didn't get a foul call on offense and he stood on that end arguing with the refs instead of getting back on defense. On one such play, the guy he was supposed to be guarding (Markieff Morris) threw down a wide-open jam.
The statistics don't lie either. Every game it seems as though the opposing team's power forward (at least one of them) goes off for big points. Versus the Hornets this weekend it was Jason Smith with 26pts and tonight it was Markieff Morris who dumped in 21 off the bench in 31 minutes. There's no doubt that fatigue is a big issue and has played a role in these defensive lapses--but it's more than just 'lapses' from what we've seen this month past month, it's just, simply: guys have given up on the season, now that Minnesota has fallen out of the playoff picture. On the pace Minnesota is on right now, the season will painstakingly come to an end, just as last season did. That being said, I do believe we'll win a few more games, if we go out on another double-digit losing streak, I might just lose it! There's just eight games left this season, still time to turn things around. That doesn't mean playoffs, but rather ending the season on the 'right note'.
What made tonight so disappointing was that the Phoenix Suns' best players (Nash, Gortat) hardly played and hardly scored for the Suns in this one. The majority of the damage came from the bench: the Phoenix Suns bench scored 66 points! This was was over before the fourth quarter really began (maybe before then).
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top performers for each team...
HOT: The Phoenix Suns. Stats don't lie! Morris: 21pts on 60%, Brown: 17pts on 50%, Telfair: 14pts on 86%, Nash: 14pts on 60%, Redd: 13pts on 56%....the list goes on....and on. The Suns shot 57% from the field, a season-high for a TWolves opponent.
NOT: The Minnesota Timberwolves. It was just an awful game to watch. Minnesota put forth a shoddy defensive effort and didn't get much help in the scoring department either.
MISC.: Only two Timberwolves posted a positive +/- both played less than 6 minutes. Tolliver with a +1 (played 6 min. had 1reb, 1stl, 1to, 1fl) and Randolph with a +3 (played 5 minutes and shot 0-for-2, had 1stl). The worst? -22 for Kevin Love. -18 for J.J. Barea. -17 for D-Will. -16 for Malcolm Lee. -14 for Wes Johnson. -13 for Pekovic. On and on and on.
KEY STATS: Here's your keys to the Phoenix Suns victory: 57% shooting from the field and 66 points from the bench. That was the W. Beyond that they also shot the higher percentage from deep, had a +5 rebounding advantage and a +10 in assists. Here's something though: Minnesota held the Suns to a season-low in offensive rebounds for an opponent with just 5. Of course, when you shoot 57% there aren't too many rebounds to grab. Minnesota got outplayed on both ends of the floor and it showed up on both ends of the floor.
UP NEXT: Wednesday April 11th vs. the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center, tipoff set 8pmCT
Thanks for reading HOWL and C'MON WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!