An old problem crept up for the Timberwolves during their 121-110 loss to Atlanta on Monday: The ball got "sticky" on offense, as coach Chris Finch likes to say.

"Way too sticky," Finch said after the game.

Part of that may have had to do with the Wolves missing their top two point guards in D'Angelo Russell and Patrick Beverley.

The Wolves got some good news on that front ahead of Wednesday's matchup against Utah. Beverley is on track to return after missing the last six games because of a left adductor strain, Finch said. Russell, on the other hand, is likely to miss his second consecutive game because of right ankle soreness.

Lack of ball movement was a subject the Wolves often discussed before they rattled seven of eight wins, but after dropping their third straight Monday, it has come up again. Before, Finch said star players like Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards and Russell might have been trying a little too hard to jump-start the offense into having a good season.

Monday night Towns said he was trying to do that with Russell out — trying to make individual plays at the expense of moving the ball in rhythm.

"Sometimes I should've moved the ball, got some more people involved, did some more things," Towns said. "It's something I'm going to have to look at tape. Sometimes I get so locked in on trying to dominate a one-on-one matchup or to dominate a favorable position I'm in against a defender that sometimes I think I get zeroed in on trying to score and be effective."

That can come at the expense of the rest of the offense.

Finch likes to give his players like Towns and Edwards freedom within his offensive structures to maximize their abilities, but the decision-making for all, including them, has to be quick, whether it's to pass, dribble or shoot.

"Our two main guys right there, the ball is holding too much," Finch said. "We've got to trust the ball movement, let it go through their hands earlier. That's stuff that we're preaching to them all the time. We give them great freedom, but it comes with a responsibility to keep the offense ticking over, and we're struggling to find that balance."

Assistant coach Pablo Prigioni likes to say the Wolves should have a 0.3 second mentality on offense — that whatever a player decides to do, he should decide to do it quickly. Forward Jarred Vanderbilt said it's more like a 0.5-second mentality, but the point is, the Wolves must do everything quickly.

"We just need to be more decisive in what we're doing," Vanderbilt said. "If we're going to cut, cut. Screen, screen. Pass, shoot, dribble but just do it in the flow of the offense. I feel like the ball got a little sticky in certain parts of the game, but on top of that, we were out our two point guards. It was kind of a different flow. We had some different lineups we hadn't really played together."

That's the challenge of fielding rotations when players come in and out of the lineup. The chemistry could be off, and it can cause someone like Towns to try and put the game on his shoulders. At least it appears Beverley is on his way back to ease that burden.

"Sometimes I feel like I've got to take a shot just to ease the crowd, ease the game, make one, put pressure on them now … " Towns said. "I've got to play Wolves basketball where it requires, even in a favorable matchup in my mind, I've got to pass the ball, not to benefit the person who catches the ball, but to benefit the whole team and get the whole identity going."