It’d be easy to say that the Timberwolves are bad, but that simply isn‘t the case. At 1-10 on the season, it’s easy to make that assumption, but if you look closely, you’ll see that they aren’t bad, but simply a young team struggling to finish off games.

They’ve been close in nearly every single game, and if games only went three quarters, they may be above the .500 mark. Unfortunately for them, games are played with four quarters, and each time the fourth quarter starts, the Wolves seem to fall apart.

So far in eleven games, their average margin of defeat is nine points. But, even this number is a little deceiving.

Take the Lakers game for example. The Wolves were leading, or down by a few baskets up until the last four or five minutes in the game. Then, they went on a slump, the Lakers built a bigger lead, and the Wolves ultimately gave them about six more points on free throws to cap off the game.

This has been the story in more than a handful of games this season.

The Wolves leading, tied, or right in the game up until the final five minutes of the game. They go cold, and give the other team a run. They then finish the game by fouling, making the final score look worse than the game really was.

With experience, the Wolves should improve with their late game mishaps. The most recent game against the Hawks might have been one of the Wolves best and worst games of the season, and it really showed how being young, not bad is the reason for losing.

After one half of play, the Wolves lead the Hawks by 18 points, with a score of 63-45. Al Jefferson was perfect shooting, and had 18 points and 11 rebounds. It seemed as though there was no way they could blow the game, but inexperience helped them do just that.

They came out cold in the second half, and scored just 12 points in the third quarter. The Hawks scored just 19, so they still lead by 11 going into the final quarter.

In the final quarter of play, things just got worse. The Hawks outscored the Wolves 30-12, and the Wolves lost by a final score of 94-87. Effectively blowing an 18-point halftime lead.

The reason for the lost wasn’t because the Wolves are bad, but because they don’t have a lot of chemistry or experience. The Hawks effectively shutdown Jefferson with triple-teams in the second half, and the Wolves didn’t know how to handle it. They should have found other ways to score, but they just didn’t know how.

As they play more together, and get Foye back as a late-game weapon, the Wolves should improve. It might be easy to get upset with the team at times, but eventually they’ll play the second half like they do the first, and pick up some victories.


When the Wolves traded Ricky Davis and Mark Blount away for Walker and Doleac, they were essentially getting rid of two players that weren’t all that happy, and in return getting two players that are veterans, and seemed to be okay with the new start.

Walker was great with his comments after the trade, and it looked as if the Wolves had made the right move to get him to be a leader on the team. Walker didn’t really produce in the first four games in a limited amount of playing time, but he did get minutes, and didn‘t complain.

In the team’s fifth game, Walker never moved from the bench.

Since that time, the Wolves have had a few days off, and Walker has let it be known that he isn’t very happy.

No, he hasn’t come out and complained out his playing time, he hasn’t complained about the coaching, and he hasn’t complained about the team. But he has come out and said that he is “confused” about what he is in Minnesota for, and that to me is just as bad.

Walker doesn’t want to be here, and there really isn’t a reason to have him here. Whenever he is on the court, it seems as though he plays just for himself. He forces shots, and it looks as if he just wants the stats.

For me, it’s an easy choice, ship him out. But, will the Wolves consider this, and what should they do?

The Wolves remain winless after losing to the Kings on Saturday night, 100-93. As with all of the games this season, there are a few positives to take away, but overall, the Wolves looked slow and didn’t seem to work as hard as they have in the previous four games.

The Wolves from the start looked slow, and didn’t move with a lot of energy. Nonetheless, they managed to stick with the Kings, but could never take over. The Kings in the fourth, game out strong, and put the game away. One of the main reasons for the loss, and the fourth quarter collapse, was that the Wolves got away from their gameplan.

Throughout the game, Jefferson seemed to get involved. But in the fourth, he seemed nonexistent, and they never really even attempted to get the ball inside to him. Jefferson did finish with 17 points and 12 rebounds, but early in the game, he seemed to score at will, and if the Wolves would have stuck with that gameplan, they might have won.

Another reason for the loss might have been the injury to Craig Smith. Before leaving with a sprained ankle, Smith had scored 10 points and collected 5 rebounds in just 18 minutes of play. His status for the next game is unknown, but lets hope he is okay.

The lineup remained the same as it was against the Lakers. Jaric started at the point, and did virtually nothing. He seemed to slow down the game even more, and finished with seven points. If the Wolves want to get Jaric playing time, it needs to be off the ball, because with his speed and ball handling, he isn’t meant to be a point guard.

Other than Jefferson and Smith, the key players where Theo Ratliff, who scored 14 points to go along with 7 boards, Corey Brewer, who scored 15 points to go along with 8 rebounds, and Rashad McCants, who off the bench scored 16 points.

The few positive signs were the free throws. While the Wolves were still outdone by a large margin, they shot most of their 24 free throws late in the second half when McCants and Brewer began to drive to the hoop (and Theo drawing contact inside).

Speaking of Brewer, he really came alive all-around. He drove to the hoop, and shot seven free throws. He also made a few nice shots close to the hoop. On defense he was just as good, and collected five rebounds plus his three hustle ones on offense.

Overall, it was somewhat of a step back for the Wolves. With most of their losses, there has been something that they have gained, but in this one they looked slow, and other than Brewer and the late-game free throws, we didn’t learn a lot more about this team.

The Wolves faced off against the Lakers, looking for their first win of the season, but after sticking with them much of the way, the Lakers took control at the end of the game, and won it 107-93.

Marko Jaric got the start at point over Sebastian Telfair, and the move made coach Randy Wittman look like an idiot. Telfair came off the bench for the Wolves and scored 15 points to go along with 3 assists.

With McCants out, Greg Buckner got the start, and put together a pretty nice game with 9 points and 3 assists. He also played pretty good defense.

The star for the Wolves was again Al Jefferson. In 35 minutes, Jefferson scored 24 points, and also collected a season high 15 rebounds. His close teammate Ryan Gomes scored 17 points.

More key points to come later…

When Rashad McCants sprained his ankle in the first quarter of the Magic game, I was both worried and upset. I was upset, because he had already scored 8 points, and was about to put up another great game. Plus, it hurt the Wolves chances of winning the game drastically.

The worried part was because I was hoping that he wouldn’t miss an extended period of time like other Wolves. And, today we got some good news.

First off, Rashad McCants will travel with the team on the West Coast trip. This means that he is healthy enough to have a chance to play. The better news however is that McCants said that he hopes to play against the Lakers, but if not, he will for sure play against the Kings.

Aside from McCants, Randy Foye said that he feels good, but it looks like he will still wait until the three-week checkup before returning to the lineup. Foye has been doing activities to keep his body in shape, and should miss just six more games if he returns on time.

For this game recap, I’m going to do a less formal write-up. The Wolves lost their third straight game, and are still winless, but each game has been exciting, and the Wolves have had a shot to win each as well. Instead of a write-up, here are my key thoughts. Feel free to share yours in the comments.

*Jefferson is the go-to guy – Kevin Garnett was never thought of as a clutch guy in Minnesota, and since the season started, people have wondered who gets the ball in the fourth. Well, I can tell you that the guy is Al Jefferson. With the Wolves down double-digits, Jefferson scored 12 points in the fourth to get the Wolves back into the game.

*Jefferson is still a beast – Aside from being awesome in the fourth quarter, Jefferson had a nice overall game. He did get into a little foul trouble that limited him to 35 minutes, but played well nonetheless. In his 35 minutes, Jefferson scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds to give him his third double-double in as many games.

*Greg Who? – When we traded Hassel for Buck, he was thought to be the main buy-out candidate. Well, he has proven that he is just as good if not better than Hassel so far. Aside from his defense (7th in the league in steals), Buck has averaged double-digits and scored 18 in this game.

*Jaric fun to watch? – Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed watching Marko Jaric. If he could play like this all the time, I’d love to keep him on the team. He finished the game with 10 points and 10 assists, and handled the game well. Plus, he even hit some clutch shots.

*Brewer good and bad – Corey Brewer made some nice shots, and played pretty well on defense. The one negative was him forcing shots. There were three that I can think of that looked terrible. Mainly because he wasn’t open…

*No Theo – Theo Ratliff was expected to play, and could have helped guard Howard. But, he missed the game with the flu, and Jefferson had to guard Howard most of the time. Plus, when he didn’t we were overmatched with Gomes on him. Howard had pretty similar numbers to Jefferson anyways.

*Bad perimeter D – The main negative so far this season on defense is the perimeter defense. This continued against the Magic, and Lewis made seven three-pointers. There are far to many open shots, and I’m not even sure how to fix it.

*Rashad Hurt – McCants twisted his ankle in the first. This recap is a day late, so I can now say that he is day-to-day, and should play Saturday if everything goes well. The bad thing was that he already had 8 points after a quarter…

*Good crowd – I loved to hear the crowd get loud in the fourth, and boo loudly on a few terrible calls. I hope they stick around all season.

*Played Hard – Finally, one thing I’ve loved about this team is that they play hard and play until the finish. We were down by double-digits with five minutes left, and went on a 14-0 run to get back into the game. It was fun to watch even with the loss.

There are more things I could talk about, but these are the keys. What are your thoughts on the season so far, and this game in particular?

Orlando Magic T-Wolves
2-1 0-2
Game Time: 7:00
Radio: BOB 106.1

The Timberwolves have played well in their first two games, but both have resulted in losses for one main reason — fouls. The Timberwolves have been killed by foul trouble for two obvious reasons. One is that the Nuggets and Knicks both shot at least twice as many free throws as them. And, the second reason is that it has forced them to take out McCants and other key players.

Tonight, they’ll return home, and look to win their first game of the new era.