The Wolves have squandered more double digit leads this season than I even care to think about. Tonight, the Wolves led by as many as 22 points, but the end result is a 7-point loss to the Phoenix Suns. While the Wolves won't technically be eliminated from the postseason for another couple weeks, this game is most certainly a backbreaker for those that were still holding out.
The saddest thing about this game is that anyone who was watching it and saw the Wolves score 41 points in the first quarter and 73 points total in the first half (a season-high) knew that their offensive onslaught wouldn't last. As per usual, they'd get complacent and just seemingly stop trying, allowing the opponent to get back in the game in seal the deal late in the fourth.
It's a blueprint that the Wolves have followed an inordinate amount of times this season.
The Wolves were led by another near triple-double effort from Kevin Love. For the third time this season he finished just one assist shy of a triple-double: 36 points, 14 rebounds, 9 assists & 2 steals.
Ricky Rubio continued his aggressive play. He may be playing the best and most efficient basketball of his NBA career these past couple weeks. Ricky finished with 19 points, 3 rebounds, 9 assists & 3 steals.
The Wolves just looked sloppy down the stretch and it almost seemed as if they expected things to come to them. A trait they've consistently shown all year long. The biggest difference between these two clubs is that while the Wolves have the more talented roster, the Suns play hard 48 minutes a night and each one of their players is put into a position to succeed and contribute. Needless to say, the same can't be said about the Timberwolves.
It's obvious that a quartet of Love, Rubio, Pek & Martin should trump Dragic, Bledsoe, Green & Markieff. It should, but it hasn't. Perhaps it's an entitled attitude and an assumption that you're far superior to your opponent that you can give less than 100% and expect to win. Unfortunately that's just one of many flaws for this Wolves team this season.
The Suns got down early in this game, but they maintained their composure and took it one play at a time. That strategy allowed them to cut a once 22-point lead to 11 points at halftime and for the remaining two quarters they continued to chip away at the deficit. Ultimately, they were able to get over the hump in the final minutes and the Wolves' poor execution in those final minutes would be their ultimate demise. The Suns went on to win by 7 and also win the season series 2-1.
Back to .500! With this loss the Wolves fall 6 games out of the 8th seed, while the Phoenix Suns are now 0.5 games behind the Grizzlies for 8th. Minnesota will travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies tomorrow night at the Fed Ex Forum. Tipoff: 7pmCST.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!