The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to play a competitive brand of basketball that usually gives them a chance to win games down the stretch. But actually closing out those games with a win remains an issue.
The Wolves had a busy schedule this past week with five games which ended with two wins and three losses. Minnesota began the week with a win over the Washington Wizards (93-72) to begin a stretch of three games in three days. The other two games didn't go as well, with Minnesota losing at Toronto (97-87) and then at home against the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls (111-100).
After a couple of days off, the Timberwolves hit the road to finish the week with a win over the New Orleans Hornets (87-80) and a tough, two-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks (93-91). The Hawks games seemed to best symbolize Minnesota's struggles as they had an 18-point lead late in the third quarter only to let it slip away.
The days of me giving extra credit for effort are done. Effort alone, like moral victories, no longer means anything to me because even as effort can be beneficial, it can be detrimental (i.e.- Jonny Flynn or Wes Johnson). Sometimes I think it would be better if they remained stationary on the court.
Minnesota seems to have the pieces to compliment Love and Rubio when you look at the athletic games of rookie Derrick Williams and Wes Johnson in particular. But a set of freakish, NBA-ready tools requires more than showing up to make them useful in the league, and Johnson continues to struggle trying to make an impact.
Young, exciting teams can only remain so fun, if the majority of results are added to the loss column. With a little softer schedule ahead in their next two games, Minnesota needs to find a way to win more than they lose next week.