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Postgame: Wolves find themselves in another losing streak

As the dead of winter has settled in Minnesota, so another losing streak has beset the Timberwolves.
They hit their sixth consecutive loss after falling 107-100 to the shorthanded Nuggets on Monday at Target Center.

“I didn’t even know it was six,” guard Josh Okogie said.

This streak is topped only by the 11-gamer the Wolves faced through much of December, one that seemed at times like it may never end. This hasn’t reached that territory yet, and there is a winnable game upcoming Wednesday at Chicago, but if the Wolves can’t pull that one off, they’re looking at two games against Houston and Oklahoma City, each of whom has beaten the Wolves lately.

“Just have to attack each day,” Robert Covington said. “You have to attack the days and do little things. Do little things and it’ll take care of itself and back to the way we were playing for that little stretch.”

Added Karl-Anthony Towns: “I'd lie to you guys if I didn't say that it was difficult. … You've got to go out there and just do your part and just try to keep leading. That's what I'm going to do.”

Of late, the Wolves have played well enough to win against opponents like Indiana and Denver, but late-game execution has been lacking at both end of the floor. On Monday, rebounding was their downfall in the fourth quarter after allowing six Nuggets offensive rebounds.

“The thing I do not love is that some of the rebounds that we’re giving up, the offensive rebounds, we’re giving up in crucial, winning time moments,” coach Ryan Saunders said.

Denver had the rebounding edge 53-42.

Okogie provides energy
Josh Okogie had one of his best games in a while with 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting and he provided a needed shot in the arm during the second quarter to help the Wolves build their biggest lead of the night. He also had a three-point play to pull the Wolves within one at halftime.

“I feel like I’m always making an impact,” Okogie said. “Scoring really isn’t everything to me as long as I’m bringing the energy and getting my teammates hype.”

Crabbe’s debut
The Wolves are hopeful for what new acquisition Allen Crabbe can bring. But Crabbe had a quiet debut, scoring just three points on 1 of 4 shooting in 17 minutes. He came off the bench and figures to maintain that role so long as the Wolves want to keep Shabazz Napier as the starting point guard. 

Towns on reports of unhappiness: 'I'm here to be a Minnesota Timberwolf'

INDIANAPOLIS – It seemed like Karl-Anthony Towns had something he wanted to get off his chest.
Towns had a reflective and emotional postgame media session following the Timberwolves’ 116-114 loss to the Pacers. It was Towns’ first game back since suffering a knee injury and illness that caused him to miss 15 games.

While he was out, reports surfaced concerning teams monitoring Towns’ level of unhappiness. In his first public comments since the injury, he made a strong statement that reaffirmed his commitment to the Wolves when asked about those reports. Here it is in full, with a curse word edited.

“I think you’ve been around me long enough to know I don’t go for all the ...,” Towns said. “I just do my job, go home and I know what the real story is. There’s a reason those stories are made because people need to sell papers, sell links and clicks, whatever the case may be. I’m here to be a Minnesota Timberwolf. Very fortunate I have a head coach like [Ryan Saunders], a President and friend like [Gersson Rosas]. I’m not worried about all that nonsense.

“Whatever we have to deal with in house, we’ll deal with in house, but this ain’t the circus like it used to be. This is something that’s going to be done as a family. If we have a problem or anything, we’ll deal with it internally. We won’t have any external forces here adding anything.”

There’s a lot to unpack there, including Towns saying “this ain’t the circus like it used to be,” which is likely a reference to the messy divorce the Wolves had with Jimmy Butler under Tom Thibodeau. He has seemed happy with the direction of the organization with his friend Saunders as coach and Rosas as President.

That statement backed that up.

As tends to happen in the NBA, social media ran with the reports and speculated where Towns may end up, even though he’s just in the first year of a five-year deal with the Wolves. Perhaps that will quiet some of the noise.

On another front, the Wolves played great defense with Towns out of the lineup, even if they did struggle to win.

Towns smiled as he talked about the Wolves defense, lacing his words with some colorful language. 

“I joke around that they do all that when I’m not on the court,” Towns said. “Rearview contest. We weren’t rearview contesting well. We weren’t getting around screens well. All of a sudden I get hurt, we’re going around screens like the best defensive team in the world. We’re contesting every shot off the mid-range," adding that his teammates were making him look bad.

“I just laugh about it," Towns said. "I told them all on the team and they all laughed. But they did a great job.”

The Wolves were happy to have Towns back despite the loss. He finished with 27 points. Saunders said they would evaluate how he’s feeling before deciding if he’ll play Saturday at home against Toronto. 

Final, 1/20 1 2 3 4 F
Denver 30-13 26 29 26 26 107
Minnesota 15-28 29 25 25 21 100

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