MIAMI – It’s probably a good thing the Timberwolves are on the road for their next three games. After Friday, it seems like the team and its fans could use a little time apart.
After the Wolves lost to rebuilding Atlanta 123-120 in overtime at Target Center, there was an airing of grievances on the part of fans and one player in particular, Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins, who fans booed in overtime after he went 2-for-6 from the free-throw line, used a word referencing waste products that isn’t fit for print when asked about the tongue lashing.
“Yeah, that’s fans for you,” said Wiggins, who said the Wolves have some good fans and used an expletive to describe the bad ones. “That’s how it works.”
Those comments prompted a round of debate on social media about the validity and the timing of Wiggins’ remarks coming after one of the worst losses of the Wolves’ season. Target Center has, at various times, been an awkward place for the Wolves to be this season. They booed Jimmy Butler in the wake of his trade demand and they booed coach Tom Thibodeau. Next Wiggins was the object of their ire.
It always has been a tenuous coexistence between fans who want the maximum out of a player who is in the first year of a maximum contract. A night like Friday, when Wiggins went 5-for-14 and missed seven free throws as the Wolves lost a winnable game, is Exhibit A in why fans get frustrated — to the point of booing.
The Wolves won’t play again at Target Center until Friday, and Wiggins will have a chance to redeem himself in road contests at Miami, New Orleans and Boston. The good news for the Wolves is that they have been playing better on the road as of late. They lost their past two games at home, both winnable, but they have won their past two on the road. They dispatched of a woeful Bulls team by 25 and defeated Oklahoma City before that in a game in which Wiggins scored a season-high 30 points.
Robert Covington said there is added urgency on this road trip, urgency that was lacking, especially early, vs. the Hawks.
“We’ve got to finish out this road trip because these teams aren’t going to be easy,” Covington said. “Things aren’t going to be easy. They’re in a playoff race of their own. We have to go out and we have to play good basketball in order for us not to fall back too much to where we have to play more on our heels that we have to.”
Covington said the Wolves need to win multiple games on this trip “just so we don’t fall back to where we have to expend more than we have to.”
Perhaps the Wolves will come out with an edge they said was missing against Atlanta, and maybe things will be better when they return home.
Staff writer Jerry Zgoda contributed to this report.