In a victory over Miami in their preseason opener Saturday, the Timberwolves were able to overcome a late second-quarter swoon with a dominant third quarter.
That’s not the way it went Monday in Charlotte, when problems before halftime carried into the third in a loss to the Hornets. And while losses in preseason games don’t really matter, coach Tom Thibodeau seemed unhappy with how things went.
“I thought the first quarter was really good,” he told reporters. “The second quarter was good until about the six-minute mark. We didn’t close out the second quarter well. We have a lot of work to do. We were just talking about that we have to develop the mind-set that we have to get through things.”
Among the things Thibodeau was less than pleased with was his team’s ability to close out on three-pointers and the defense in general on a night when the Wolves got 20-for-75 shooting from everyone other than Zach LaVine.
Wednesday the Wolves will play the Denver Nuggets in Lincoln, Neb. Here are some things to expect from the third of seven preseason games:
• A tighter rotation. On Saturday Thibodeau played just 10 players, and both units found their rhythm at different times. Monday 15 players saw action; John Lucas III is the only player who has not yet appeared in a game.
“We wanted to look at more players, so I think I disrupted the rhythm of the game,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll probably get back to playing 10.”
• A more concerted effort on defense. Monday the Hornets shot better than 50 percent on two-point shots and were 12-for-36 on three-pointers.
• For Thibodeau to continue to stress consistent effort. “Right now we’re playing 20 to 24 minutes of good basketball,’’ he said. “We have to improve that.’’
• More development from rookie Kris Dunn. He had a strong debut Saturday with six points, seven assists and two steals. But he has struggled with his shot in both games, shooting a combined 4-for-20.
• Better shooting from Andrew Wiggins, who is a combined 6-for-24 in two games. He made up for that in Miami by making 13 of 16 free throws. He only attempted four free throws in Charlotte.
• Through two games Shabazz Muhammad has scored 26 points but he’s just 9-for-27. LaVine scored 30 points Monday on 13-for-20 shooting, which included going 4-for-6 on three-pointers. In two games, he has 39 points and has shot 17-for-29.