We only watched the second half of the Wolves/Jazz game last night, but that was enough in a couple of regards: enough bad basketball by the local club and enough to see that the Wolves are in a serious funk right now. After seemingly turning a bit of a corner, they have lost 5 of their last 7 and are back at .500 with a 14-14 record. So what's wrong? Well ...
*Energy: Despite not having played since Saturday, the Wolves were FLAT from what we could see. They've looked plenty flat in other games as well, but not like what we saw last night. Maybe that was the product of missing so many shots, which can be deflating. But it was startling.
*Injuries catching up: Ricky Rubio provided an emotional lift when he returned, but he's been slowed again now and hasn't been the player he was last year even when on the court. Kevin Love still doesn't look right. Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger have missed significant time.
*Love: Speaking of Kevin, it would be too convenient to blame his Yahoo flap for the recent funk. After all, the Wolves won their first three games after that story came out. More likely, it's his uneven play (to put it nicely) on the court of late. In the Wolves' last four losses, Love has missed one of them and shot a combined 9 for 38 from the field in the other three. His body language often looks bad. He needs to get fully healthy and re-focused.
*Alexey Shved is cooling off. Shved was a combined 21-for-45 from 3-point range during a 7-2 Wolves stretch between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. That's a 46.7 percent clip and it opened up a lot of things. Since then, he is 12 for 41 (29.6 percent), coinciding with this 2-5 slide.
*Better competition: The early schedule was softer; now they're playing better teams, and if the Wolves are not at full strength they are exposed.
*Defensive lapses. The Wolves have held opponents under 90 points 10 times this season (going 7-3 in those games). Nine of those games came Dec. 7 or earlier. They have allowed at least 100 points 13 times this season (going 4-9 in those games). More than half of those games (eight) have come in the last month.
Any other reasons? We left some out for you to chew on in the comments.