Once again, Wolves get burned late

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2014 - 1:42 PM

This time it was against the Suns, who finished the game with a 9-1 run.

 

Whether it’s a matter of circumstance or coincidence now matters not. What matters after the Timberwolves’ 104-103 loss Wednesday night to a surprising Phoenix team they’re chasing for one of the Western Conference final playoff spots is they still can’t get themselves into winner’s territory or win a close game.

The Suns outscored them 9-1 in the final 2:38 and put further distance in the NBA standings between an overachieving, disciplined, determined bunch that many prognosticators had picked to finish last or thereabouts in the West and a Wolves team that missed yet another chance to get over .500.

The Wolves now are 0-10 in games decided by four or fewer points this season, and Wednesday’s game joined a growing list of games — losses to the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas and Oklahoma City just in recent weeks, to name three — they let get away.

If the season ended Wednesday night, the Suns and Dallas would own the West’s final playoff spots. Phoenix now leads the Wolves by four games.

“We can’t have any more of these,” Wolves star Kevin Love said. “These are terrible. … We’ve had very tough ones. The last three we have lost have been really tough, the last four really. It’s just time.”

After the Wolves lost to Dallas nine days earlier, Love called out the team’s bench for contributing just five points that night. On Wednesday, he singled out two unnamed teammates — believed to be J.J. Barea and Dante Cunningham — for sitting at the end of bench and not getting up during timeouts down the stretch with the game on the line.

“We all need to be in this together,” Love said. “We’re supposed to be a team.”

The Wolves didn’t score a field goal for the last 4:31. Not after Corey Brewer’s corner three gave them a 97-88 lead. Not with all of the team’s five starters on the floor. And not after Suns second-year center Miles Plumlee fouled out with 2:44 after he harassed Nikola Pekovic into a 6-for-16 shooting night but couldn’t keep him from scoring nine fourth-quarter points.

Still, the Wolves couldn’t get the ball to Pekovic or Love down the stretch enough when they needed to do so.

“We didn’t make plays,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “I don’t know what you want me to tell you.”

The Suns did, coming back in the final three minutes scoring on a putback basket, at the free-throw line and ultimately on former Timberwolves guard Gerald Green’s 18-foot jump shot with 3.9 seconds left that proved to be the winner. They did so while playing without injured star guard Eric Bledsoe beside fellow point guard Goran Dragic, who delivered a 26-point, nine-assist performance.

Kevin Martin’s short would-be winning shot in the final second missed on a night when he scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half and the Wolves’ tandem of “lumberjacks,” as Philadelphia coach Brett Brown called Love and Pekovic the other night, combined for 10-for-36 shooting.

Before the game, Love said “it’s no mental block or curse or anything” and called it “kind of circumstance.” Point guard Ricky Rubio called it something else.

“I think it’s just coincidence,” Rubio said.

Losing that many close games surely isn’t.

The Wolves turned the ball over three times in the final four minutes, two of them by Rubio. Included was one when Rubio got trapped after driving underneath the basket and threw out desperately with 25 seconds left.

The Suns turned that possession into Green’s winning shot from deep in the right corner.

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Phoenix 104, Wolves 103

    Wednesday January 8, 2014

  • Video: Adelman: 'We've got to find a way to finish the game'

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    An exasperated Rick Adelman reacts to yet another game that got away, to a Suns team the Wolves are...

  • Photo gallery: Phoenix 104, Wolves 103

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    The Timberwolves played host to the Phoenix Suns on Jan 8, 2014 at Target Center. Phoenix ended the game...

  • Wolves bench looking deeper with Budinger back, too

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    Two nights after the Timberwolves got Ronny Turiaf back after two months away injured, reserve forward Chase Budinger made his season debut Wednesday.

  • Wolves-Phoenix game recap

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    GAME RECAPImpact playerChanning Frye, PhoenixThe Suns’ version of the “stretch 4” (in English: power forward who can make three-pointers) made...

  • Chart: 10 close games, 10 close losses

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    The Wolves dropped to 0-10 this season in games decided four points or fewer:

  • Ricky Rubio tried to push by Phoenix's Miles Plumlee during the first half at the Target Center

  • Kevin Love reacted to a foul call late in the first half. It was a frustrating night for Love, who scored 15 points on 4-for-20 shooting. He also was called for five fouls.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 14 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 5
Boston 3 Bottom 9th Inning
Baltimore 3
Milwaukee - LP: J. Broxton 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Holdzkom 4
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: H. Kuroda 5
Washington - WP: D. Fister 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: T. Koehler 2
Chicago WSox 4 Bottom 9th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
NY Mets 2 Top 9th Inning
Atlanta 0
Cleveland 4 Top 8th Inning
Minnesota 3
Detroit 10 Top 7th Inning
Kansas City 0
Seattle 8 Bottom 6th Inning
Houston 2
Arizona 2 Bottom 7th Inning
Colorado 11
Cincinnati 1 Top 8th Inning
St. Louis 2
Philadelphia 0 Top 3rd Inning
Oakland 3
Texas 3 Bottom 1st Inning
LA Angels 0
San Francisco 0 Bottom 1st Inning
San Diego 0
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7 4th Qtr 12:42
So Florida 14
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Colorado 9:00 PM
Real Salt Lake
Toronto 1 8:40
Brt Columbia 0
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close