Chris Finch is Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

AP Photo: Nam Y. Huh

Chris Finch was hired as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves midway through last season and has added immediate legitimacy to this woebegone franchise. NBA players, coaches, fans and media have all taken to Finch, in large part due to his calm demeanor, expansive basketball knowledge and ability to project that knowledge in a tangible way to those he teaches.

But what happens when a player or the entire team isn’t playing up to Chris Finch’s standard? What happens when Coach Finch gets pissed off? There hasn’t been a lot of openly frustrated moments from Finch, so far. But we have seen a different side of him recently.

Chris Finch’s frustration has been boiled over because of the Minnesota Timberwolves defense, or lack-there-of. We know this team can be competitive on that side of the floor, thanks to a defensive effort that kept them afloat early this season, when the offense wasn’t clicking. But it’s fallen apart of late and Finch isn’t happy about it. In the last week, he’s addressed the issue both in his media press conferences and in-game with individual players.

Too Tired and Beat Up for Defense?

One excuse for the defensive falloff, which we’ve seen used by both Wolves’ players and the media members who cover them, is fatigue. It’s a long season and the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t used to battling for a possible playoff spot this late into it.

Anthony Edwards has been dealing with a small knee issue (knee tendinopathy) that’s apparently bogged him down for a month and a half. D’Angelo Russell skipped a week of games and practice because of a bruise on his shin. Oh, and Karl-Anthony Towns spent much of his most recent press conferences lamenting his fatigue following the Wolves’ most recent win over Indiana.

Fed Up Finch

But luckily, we have Chris Finch to halt such a very TIRING spiral of self pity. Much like the author of this blog, Finch is sick of hearing about how tired Minnesota Timberwolves players are. This is the NBA. The season is 82 games. None of this is news. So why do we treat it as such? Especially when every other team in the league is going through the same shit?

So after the Timberwolves beat the Pacers 129-120 on Sunday, Finch didn’t want to talk about his team’s fatigue anymore.

“I’m done talking about being tired,” Finch said. “I’ll talk about the performance.”

The Wolves snapped their two-game losing streak thanks to a 37-point performance from Anthony Edwards that lifted the sails of his teammates. Finch said the key to fighting through this stretch of the season before the All-Star break was being mentally tough enough to overcome whatever is bothering you.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of guys out there that are tired and banged up right now,” Finch said. “But they’re winning games, playing their best and playing hard. Maybe we can try to reduce some of their minutes, some of their shifts. I think we’ll do that, but we addressed it the other day.”

Star Tribune

Focus on Winning

It’s time to stop with the excuses and I’m glad Chris Finch derailed the pity train before it caught too much steam. Wallowing in the sorrow of a long season and the bumps/bruises that go along with it will get the Minnesota Timberwolves nowhere.

Instead, their attention needs to turn to the schedule and the current Western Conference standings. The Wolves are 30-27 with 25 games left to play. They currently hold the 7th seed in the West, 1.5 games behind Denver and 3.5 games behind Dallas. They’d need to climb over one of those two teams and claim at least the 6th seed if they want to avoid the play-in tournament.

Winning as many games as possible and avoiding the play-in should be the only focus for this team. Worrying about your own fatigue isn’t conducive to winning basketball games. Sometimes, success comes down to a “mind over matter” mentality.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan