The Timberwolves had a chance to finish with a winning season for the first time since 2004-05 and a chance to sweep the Utah Jazz for the first time in franchise history, they failed at both with a double overtime loss to the Jazz on Wednesday night.
The Wolves played terribly early on and allowed a Utah Jazz team that they've handled easily on three separate occasions this season. Robbie Hummel, Corey Brewer & Ronny Turiaf seemed to be the only three Timberwolves players interested in giving some effort.
That trio helped the Wolves get back into the game, but they just couldn't get it together. A common theme in yet another disappointing season in Minneapolis.
Kevin Martin turned it on in the fourth quarter where he scored 14 of his season-high 36 points. On a night in which Minnesota's star shot just 4-for-15 from the field and 1-for-9 from deep, the Wolves clearly had to look for other options.
Four of Minnesota's five bench players scored in double figures: Cunningham (13), Turiaf (12), Shved (11) & Hummel (10).
Alexey Shved played 18 minutes the most action he's seen in quite some time this season. That was because of a combination of factors. The first was that J.J. Barea was a late scratch from the active roster with back spasms. The other was because Ricky Rubio found himself in some foul trouble midway through the third quarter that forced Adelman into playing Shved at the point.
The Wolves saved their two worst defensive outings for their final two games of the season. Prior to Monday's game in Golden State, the Wolves hadn't given up more than 130 points this season. They allowed the Warriors to score 130 on Monday and tonight they allowed the Jazz to score 136. This is the same Jazz team that the Wolves held to 72 points on January 18th. That means the Utah Jazz hold the marks for a season-high for a Wolves opponent in points scored and a season-low for a Wolves opponent in points scored...interesting....to say the least.
Trey Burke scorched the Wolves for a career-high 32 points, Gordon Hayward added 23 and Derrick Favors chipped in 21. With those three players, two mid-level talents in Enes Kanter & Alec Burks as well as a high lottery pick in the upcoming draft. The future is bright in Utah. They may not be ready for a return to the postseason as early as next year, but they have a very talented young core to build around.
The Wolves came into this season with playoff expectations and unfortunately, the Wolves are on the outside looking in come April for a tenth-consecutive season. The Wolves enter another summer with plenty of uncertainty. Headlined by Coach Adelman's future and whether or not Kevin Love will still be here next year.
Minnesota's next step will be deciding on the future of head coach Rick Adelman. Adelman said before tonight's game that he would be meeting with Flip & Glen Taylor within the next 24 hours. There's almost no chance that Adelman returns as head coach and the news we'll be hearing sometime in the next few days is that Adelman is retiring and the Wolves are beginning a coaching search.
Some early names being thrown around: George Karl, Tom Izzo, Fred Hoiberg and Tom Izzo. We'll have plenty more on the (very likely) head coaching search as well as a number of other Offseason Questions in a news post sometime later this month.
Until then, enjoy the NBA playoffs, perhaps you can watch the 38-44 Atlanta Hawks get dismantled by the Indiana Pacers.
Thanks for another great season, stay tuned to HOWL this summer for all your TWolves news and updates!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!