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RandBall: R.I.P. Timberwolves season

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • March 6, 2014 - 9:09 AM

 

Basketball Reference still gives the Wolves an 18 percent chance of making the playoffs even after Wednesday night's debacle against the Knicks -- previously losers of 7 in a row -- at Target Center. Mathematically, we suppose that number is about right based on remaining schedules, et al.

 

But this Wolves team has been about incongruent math all season, so let's be real: for practical purposes, the season died last night. It died painfully, with a terrible start, a missed opportunity to reclaim momentum for good in the third quarter and a questionable decision to roll with the bench to start the fourth.

In other words, the season died how it lived. The Wolves gave themselves no margin for error by blowing winnable game after winnable game early in the season and then finished the job with one more particularly crushing defeat.

We will remember this as a team that could take a massive lead on just about anyone and looked dominant when shots were falling. We'll remember all of those losses by fewer than four points. We will note that the Wolves somehow still rank in the top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency in the league, numbers that suggest their record should be 38-22 instead of 30-30. We will remember this as a team, ultimately, where the sum of the parts added up to less than the whole.

So yes, there are winnable games ahead. The Wolves will probably still finish above .500 for the first time in nearly a decade. But even if the math says they could still get into the playoffs, the reality is that a team that can't be trusted to beat the Knicks certainly can't be expected to go on a sustained run to close the year.

Sixty games is a large enough sample size. This team isn't cursed by bad luck. This team is cursed by its own shortcomings.

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