Minnesota Timberwolves still have fourth quarter issues

(Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves saw their fourth quarter woes come back to bite them again on Thursday night.

Going into Thursday night’s game, the Minnesota Timberwolves had the second longest winning streak in the NBA at five games. It truly had looked like the team had turned a corner and was just about ready to really start dominating their opponents. Then Thursday night in Milwaukee happened.

According to ESPN’s win probability, the Timberwolves at one time had a 97.2% certainty of winning the game halfway through the third quarter. Minnesota managed to blow that by allowing Milwaukee to overcome a 20 point deficit to win 102-96.

There’s excuses that can be made for the Timberwolves. It was the second game of a back to back and it was their first full game without starting point guard Jeff Teague. The counter argument to that is every team has to deal with back to back situations and recently the team has looked better without Teague on the court anyway.

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This big of a collapse is unacceptable for a team that hopes to do at least a little bit of damage in the playoffs. No playoff team should play such bad defense that they allow that 20 point lead to evaporate fully and no playoff team should ever score only 12 points in the fourth quarter like the Wolves did on Thursday night.

The scariest thing is that Thursday saw one of the most equal scoring attacks for the Timberwolves this season. Jimmy Butler had 20 points, Andrew Wiggins had 21 and Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 and the Timberwolves managed to lose the game. The Timberwolves should win games where the three stars all score 20 points very easily.

Minnesota is still being molded into its optimal form, but it’s worrisome to go from looking pretty good over the course of two weeks to blowing up entirely in the second half of a ballgame. Hopefully this game was just a blip and not a sign of things to come.

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The Wolves next play on New Year’s Eve in Indianapolis. Tip off against the Pacers is set for 4:00 Central.