The Wolves have a net rating of plus-26.8 in the first quarter (best in the NBA), and their plus-21.9 net rating in the fourth quarter is ninth-best. In between, they're No. 23 in the second quarter (minus-12.2) and 18th (minus-1.1) in the third quarter.

That suggests the Wolves have had focused starts and strong finishes, but particularly their closing mark should be challenged as they face better teams with higher-quality lineups.

What helps in both cases, though, is that the Wolves are playing with focus and effort.

Such things can be harder to quantify than pure numbers. But players seem to like each other and play cohesively, which can be a larger part of the battle in the NBA than we might realize.

We'll find out more once the team faces adversity — a bad loss, a losing streak, a minor injury, the grind of an 82-game season.

But 3-0 is a great way to start.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. mrand@startribune.com