The Minnesota Timberwolves have had five days off and let's hope that time was spent figuring some things out, because through Minnesota's first 28 games, the Wolves are still trying to find their footing.
There have definitely been some highs through the first third of the season, but Minnesota's inconsistencies have produced twice as many lows. The main concern is effort--especially on the defensive end.
Minnesota has the potential to be one of the NBA's best teams, but without better effort on both ends of the court, they'll hang around .500 all season and find themselves on the outside looking in come April.
The excuse that the Wolves will be better once Budinger & Turiaf returns, is an excuse I'm tired of hearing. This current Timberwolves squad has all the talent to be much better than 13-15 on the season. That being said, I'm very excited to have them return--there's little doubt that the Wolves will be better with them back in the rotation.
Chase is making gradual progress, but isn't ready to return yet. Turiaf hasn't yet done any 5-on-5 in practice, but Adelman says he'll be doing some in the near future. Further updates on these two can be found in the Injury Report page on this site.
After five days off, the Wolves return to action tonight vs. the Washington Wizards. This is the second of two meetings between these two teams this season. The first came on Nov. 19th. That was a game that the Wolves built a substantial lead only to blow it in the final quarter and lose to an inferior team (100-104). The Wizards were led by their backcourt duo of John Wall (14pts & 16ast) & Bradley Beal (25pts).
The Wizards currently sit one game below .500 at 12-13, while the Wolves are two games below .500 at 13-15. Minnesota needs to win this game--a game against a VERY winnable opponent. If the Wolves continue to lose winnable games, they'll be the exact thing we can point to as the reason we don't make the playoffs...again!
Minnesota's biggest achilles heel has been defending good backcourt players, to often their either left wide open on the perimeter to nail open jumpers or they drive with limited resistance directly to the rim. These are problems with plenty of blame to go around--the guards defending on the perimeter & the big men in the post allowing easy layups.
The biggest reason the Wizards won back in November was the play of Wall & Beal, if the Wolves can contain those two, there's little chance that the Wolves will be victorious tonight.
Fortunately the Wizards struggle in Minnesota. The Wolves have gone 10-2 in the last 12 meetings between these two teams. The Wiz haven't won in Minnesota since March of 2009.
Tipoff is set for 7pmCST from the Target Center, I'll be on the road and won't be able to watch the game, but you can expect a recap sometime Saturday afternoon! Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!