LOS ANGELES – The Timberwolves tried as quickly as they could to shake off their 30-point loss at Portland on Sunday. In order to rebound, the Wolves are going to have to, well, rebound.
The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Wolves 66-38, a total that included 17 offensive boards. It was a glaring statistic.
“The second shot was a problem all night,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The rebounding was a problem, so to win on the road, obviously you have to play a lot better than that.”
The troubling thing for the Wolves is the rebounding issues extend beyond just Sunday. Two days earlier, they were outrebounded 61-39 in a loss at Golden State.
The Wolves entered Monday with the worst defensive rebounding percentage in the league at .659. That means the Wolves grabbed that many of every available defensive rebound. The league leaders in that stat were the Dallas Mavericks at .773.
Why is this such a problem for the Wolves?
“There’s a lot of different ways you can look at it,” forward Anthony Tolliver said, before the Wolves were outrebounded 44-38 in a 120-109 loss to the Clippers. “Defensively if we stay in front of people individually, then you can keep bodies on bodies, which gives you a better position for rebounds whenever your defense isn’t as good. … Whenever you get outrebounded by that many it’s a combination of obviously effort, but it’s a lot of different things that play into it.”
The Wolves got Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose back Monday, but fellow guard Jeff Teague missed his fourth consecutive game with no definitive timetable on his return. Thibodeau has said Teague is day to day, while Teague said Monday he wasn’t sure when he would be able to play.
“I’m just trying to get everything situated and healed up,” Teague said.
Teague added he hasn’t been doing anything on the court to work back from the injury, just treatment an rehab off it.
Marks of futility
This season the Wolves have set some low marks in the Thibodeau era. That continued Sunday. Their 111-81 loss to the Trail Blazers represented the second 30-point defeat the Wolves have had this season — the other being at home to Milwaukee on Oct. 26. That tied the mark for most lopsided loss for the Thibodeau era.
Part of the reason Sunday was so miserable for the Wolves was they flat-out had trouble scoring.
They shot just 31.2 percent from the floor, which also represents a low for the Thibodeau era. It was the worst shooting performance for a Wolves team since a loss to the Heat on Dec. 7, 2013, in which they shot 29 percent.
“We just got outworked, especially a few men down,” forward Taj Gibson said. “We just got to do a better job as a whole, come out with a lot more energy, do the right things. We have to understand that nobody is going to help us. We have to be in the hunt and encourage each other. Just got to bounce back.”