Timberwolves Travel to OKC to Play the Other New “Big Three”
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— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) October 22, 2017
On Thursday night, the Timberwolves were able to hold off a late-game run to take a victory in the first game played at the renovated Target Center. I don’t know how good of a measuring stick the Utah Jazz are. Well, if you ask the OKC Thunder, they might tell you that Utah is a fine measuring stick.
The Thunder and Jazz battled it out last night in Utah and the Thunder had a terrible first half, scoring just 34 points… The Timberwolves have struggled to gain rhythm offensively, so far this season too. After reading Donavon’s comments, it’s kind of funny the difference he and Thibs took on the topic of your new team coming together:
“When you have a new team coming together, it’s different for everybody,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “Paul, the way he scored in Indiana, is going to be different here. Same with Carmelo.
“Certainly, it is a work in progress. I’ve said that from the beginning. I’m not surprised.” – ESPN
That, in contrast to what Thibs said after the Wolves struggled in their first game against the Spurs last week:
Thibs doesn’t make excuses in any situation. He expects his team to be better. Kind of interesting though. Billy Donovan is also a very well respected coach. Just a difference in style. I like Thibs because I like no-nonsense people. Personal preference I guess.
If the Wolves can clamp down early on defense and play more like they did in the 2nd half of last game, compared to the 1st half, they might be able to carry over the OKC frustration offensively, from last night’s Utah game. The Wolves also need to bring it together themselves, offensively. We can’t rely on Jamal Crawford to score 17 4th quarter points in every game.
Jimmy Butler needs to be more aggressive and look to make this his offense. That will hopefully take pressure off of KAT down low because he has struggled on that end of the floor, as well. Karl has put up decent numbers again this year, but I would argue that he hasn’t looked like himself. Maybe, it’s because he is trying to wrap his head around the defensive side of the ball. If that’s the case, he isn’t doing a very good job there either, as he has stuck out negatively many times there too.
We need to remember that KAT is a VERY young player still, no matter how mature he comes off. Karl still has a lot to learn and we will see noticeable improvements as we go through the season.
Let’s also keep a close eye on Jeff Teague. The fan base has been buzzing a bit about his play so far. With everyone’s obsession over Ricky Rubio, many fans aren’t giving Teague any wiggle room on his early play. Teague will be fine and he will be an important part of the playoff run, later this season. He will get used to playing with this team just like Butler will. Look at the numbers, people. Teague is a very good point guard.
If the starting group can get it together, and start playing like we know they are capable of, we could quickly see this team rise to the top of the NBA. The bench has played much better this season, with additions like Crawford and Dieng.
If the Wolves can play better defense and their offense can improve, I am predicting a victory. Don’t get me wrong, they are in OKC and playing against a lot of talent, those things could improve and they could still lose. But, if they don’t improve those things and OKC does play better offensively, it could be a long night.
Eric Strack (Founder/Editor)
Minnesota Sports Fan
Sources: ESPN, FSN – YouTube