Early in the third quarter of Saturday’s game at Dallas, the Timberwolves allowed the Mavericks to get a pair of offensive rebounds following missed three-point attempts.
Instead of working for a layup, the Mavericks just kicked the ball back out and tried again from three-point range, this time resulting in a pair of makes from Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith.
The Wolves failed to secure those long rebounds and in a game decided by three points, a sequence like that could mean the difference between a win and a loss.
The Wolves have recognized that cleaning up the offensive glass — and dealing with long rebounds on missed three-pointers — has to be a point of emphasis going forward.
“Of course it comes down to bigs. But we need everybody to get in there,” Taj Gibson said. “It’s really tough to get to sometimes, but it’s all about just being ready, attacking the ball.”
The Wolves have been among the worst teams in the league early this season on the glass. They entered Monday 29th with a defensive rebounding percentage of .625. That statistic means of all the potential defensive rebounds the Wolves could have grabbed, they only secured 62.5 percent of them. The only team worse was the Wizards at 59.5 percent. The Jazz led the league at 81.8 percent.
“Sometimes you have to remind yourself not to stand and stare, to turn and check if your man is going forward you have to hit him,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said.
The Wolves aren’t as bad when it comes to the other end; their offensive rebounding percentage of .300 is 12th. By comparison, they were 25th in defensive rebounding percentage last season at .720. Thibodeau echoed what Gibson said, saying the entire team has to be aware of rebounding and not just the players in the post.
“The rebounds that are going to the elbow areas, you have to make a conscious effort …” Thibodeau said. “Make sure you come back in and get to the elbow, because oftentimes, it may go long to the corner and those guards have to get those.”
Guard Derrick Rose, who is averaging 14 points per game after scoring 11 Monday, said his strong play to start the season has as much to do with the opportunity he has had with the Wolves as it does with his body being healthy. He said he wasn’t getting the kind of minutes in his previous stop with the Cavaliers.
“You’re used to seeing me play 32 minutes and you cut that down to seven minutes or to [did not plays] and only taking five shots, how can I show you my old self?” Rose said. “I’m only playing six minutes, so when I’m out there, you’re only looking at me for six minutes, like is something wrong with his confidence? No.”
• Jimmy Butler’s return to the lineup Monday meant Josh Okogie returned to the bench. Thibodeau said he liked how Okogie played Saturday but would prefer to only have a nine-man rotation, and the rookie wasn’t in that rotation in the first two games. However, with Andrew Wiggins’ injury Monday, Okogie entered in the first quarter and played 24 minutes in all.
• Ashley Moyer-Gleich was one of the three officials. Moyer-Gleich was one of two female non-staff officials working NBA games Monday, along with Natalie Sago, who was at the Memphis-Utah game. It was the first time female non-staff officials were in regular-season NBA games since the 2013-14 season. Non-staff officials work both G-League and NBA games.
• The Wolves sent two-way guard Justin Terrell to G-League Iowa.