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Minnesota Timberwolves find groove during undefeated homestand

From NBA media reports

* Tonight on ESPN: Blazers vs. Timberwolves (9 ET)

The Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t interested in an autopsy on their 2018 surge. They’re not trying to interrupt the flow or ask questions about something that needs no explanation. It’s the sort of do-not-rock-the-boat mentality we’ve come to expect from NBA locker rooms, notorious for their insistence on staying in the moment.

Whether they want to examine it or not, the Timberwolves have an opportunity today to do something they’ve only done once before in franchise history: finish a five-game homestand with a perfect record. They’ll have to get by a Portland team that is certainly no pushover to do so (9 ET, ESPN), but a win would complete a mini-cycle, according to Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune, that could very well define Tom Thibodeau’s team just past the midway point of the season:

The Wolves will finish up a five-game homestand Sunday against Portland looking for just their second 5-0 homestand ever. Minnesota has won 11 of its past 14 games, its past four games overall and its past seven at home.

And that streak started two days after that Phoenix loss against the same Blazers who will be here Sunday night.

Butler’s back was aching, but he played, hefting the team onto that sore back to help the Wolves rally from 10 down with 7½ minutes left to win by a point with his two free throws with 2.5 seconds left.

That was the first of five straight victories, including a three-game road sweep at Denver, Phoenix and the Los Angeles Lakers.

In that 14-game stretch the Wolves have an offensive rating of 113.8, best in the league, a 103.7 defensive rating (sixth) and a plus-10.1 net rating (first).

If watershed isn’t the word, what is?

“In the Portland game I think we just were at a moment, almost a moment of truth,” Jamal Crawford said. “We were down in the fourth quarter. And we could have went one way. Coming off a tough loss, we could have splintered and went one way. But we found a way to win that game. And, from there, I think we just kind of steamrolled.”

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