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.

“We talked about what we want to do and we made mental mistakes,” Adelman said. “We put ourselves in tough positions. Somehow, someway we have to find a way to finish the game and we just haven’t done it. … Somehow we’ve got to learn what it’s going to take to break through on that.”



 

  • related content

  • Video: Wolves Daily: Letting another game slip away

    Thursday January 9, 2014

    Wolves now are 0-10 in games decided by four point or less after letting yet another one slip away

  • 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

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas 8 Bottom 3rd Inning
Seattle 1
Washington - D. Fister 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - K. Kendrick
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:05 PM
Baltimore - K. Gausman
Boston - J. Kelly 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Stroman
NY Yankees - S. Greene 6:08 PM
Detroit - D. Price
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:10 PM
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler
Chicago Cubs - J. Turner 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Latos
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - H. Noesi
Minnesota - P. Hughes 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Oakland - D. Pomeranz 7:10 PM
Houston - B. Peacock
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo 8:10 PM
San Diego - O. Despaigne
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw 8:40 PM
Arizona - W. Miley
Miami - H. Alvarez 9:05 PM
LA Angels - H. Santiago
Colorado - F. Morales 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Hudson
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
D.C. 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 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