In Wednesday's 113-107 win over the Clippers, every Timberwolves starter played at least 36 minutes — keeping all five in the top 40 in the NBA in average minutes played per game — including Jimmy Butler at a game-high 43. That's the fourth straight game Butler has played at least 40 minutes.
That kind of playing pace might be sustainable in a seven-game NBA Finals series. It is far less likely to be sustainable over an 82-game regular season of which there are still 56 games remaining.
That said, Wednesday's game seemed to represent a finish line of sorts. Minnesota's first 26 games this season were played at a pretty tough pace. They've barely had time to catch their breath, let alone practice.
Thursday, though, started a stretch of three days without a game before a string of five consecutive home games. They need to use this chance to regroup and maybe find new paths to victories.
On the one hand, they're 15-11 and in first place in the Northwest Division. They've made it this far with a tough early slate and come out of things pretty well results-wise.
On the other hand, they look slow and tired. A team that wanted to run and push the pace this season is just 22nd in the NBA in pace (after being 23rd last year) and ranks 29th in that category (per NBA.com) over the past six games.
This is a team that needs rest and perhaps some reinforcements. The former should take care of itself over the next few days. As for the latter, let's take a look at the situation:
• On the current roster: Getting Nemanja Bjelica back would certainly help. He's missed eight games because of a lingering foot injury. That said, unless he or Taj Gibson started playing some small forward, even getting Bjelica back wouldn't solve the biggest problem of wing depth.
Shabazz Muhammad has been so shockingly bad this season that Tom Thibodeau has left him on the bench four of the past five games. The only other available bench wing (who also hasn't been playing) is Marcus Georges-Hunt.
That has left three guys — Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford — to split 96 minutes. Getting Muhammad out of his funk and back to even playing 10 good minutes a game would be a tremendous help. Short of that, maybe seeing what Georges-Hunt could do is a reasonable option. He's on an NBA roster, after all.
• Down in Iowa: If Muhammad and Georges-Hunt (not to mention big man Cole Aldrich) can't get on the floor, it's hard to imagine anyone on the G-League's Iowa Wolves getting a promotion. Wing Anthony Brown is averaging 21.1 points, so maybe he would be worth a look as well.
With the Wolves home for a long stretch and in need of bodies, this might at least be a time that made sense for taking a look at Brown, who was signed to a two-way contract with the Wolves and can spend up to 45 days with the big club.
• Trade: With the NBA regular season about one-third gone, teams are starting to figure out what they are. Some who thought they were contenders are not — and they might soon be looking to trade established players for salary relief, prospects or both.
Maybe a trade at this point would be premature, but there already is chatter out there. The Wolves probably could add depth if they could find the right trade partner.