A night of reflection appears to have afforded Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau a bit of perspective.
In the moments following Monday’s 113-103 loss to Utah in a game in which the Wolves defense got steadily worse as the game went on, Thibodeau talked about having to back things up and “take a look at everything.’’
Well, they did take a look at everything. Film-wise, of course. Which is pretty much what the team does after every game, win or lose. This is not to say Thibodeau didn’t spent a considerable time after Tuesday’s practice talking about the need to play better defense. But he wasn’t talking about big changes, only better execution.
“The important thing is to lock into what’s important,’’ he said. “You can’t get lose in what happened before, or what’s down the road. You have to lock into what you have to do that day. You can see what went wrong. Where and why it went wrong. The challenge is to make corrections so you can improve.’’
The defensive lapses came fast and furious Monday. Utah’s shooting percentage rose as the game progressed until the team shot 65 percent in the fourth quarter. The Wolves, down five entering the fourth, rallied to take a short-lived one-point lead on Tyus Jones’ three-pointer with 7:47 left. Utah responded with an 11-0 run to take control for good.
Thibodeau counted 13 blow-bys – where a Jazz player was able to drive right to the hoop for a basket – in the second half.
So once again the Wolves watched the film, saw the mistakes, talked about them in a walk-through trying to make corrections, then practiced.
“We came back in the second half, had the lead in the fourth quarter,” Thibodeau said. “Then we didn’t do the things that are necessary to win. So it’s getting a pick and roll, walking out a man. It’s passing up a good shot to get a great shot, sprinting back every time.’’
Here are a few more notes from today’s practice:
--Shabazz Muhammad has been talking about the need for more playing time. Tuesday he got 17½ minutes and responded with 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting. Eight of those points came in the fourth quarter, while the Wolves were working towards that short-lived one-point lead. “I was out there for a good stint,’’ he said. “For me I have to find my rhythm. I know my energy is going to be there. But I got to stay in the game a little longer than I usually do. I get those minutes I’ll definitely produce. I know I can.
--Wednesday will be a reunion of sorts; Both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, starters for the Knicks this season, were in Chicago with Thibodeau.
“Both great guys,” Thibodeau said. “We’ve been through a lot together. I’m glad to see them doing well. Rose was acquired from Chicago in a June trade that sent Rose, Justin Holiday and a 2017 second-round pick to the Knicks for Jose Calderone, Jerian Grant and Robin Lopez. A free agent, Noah –whom the Wolves had some interest in – signed a four-year, $72 million deal with New York.
“I think New York is an ideal situation for them,’’ Thibodeau said. “I’m happy for ‘em. I won’t be happy for ‘em tomorrow. But they’re good guys.’’