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Patience Is Paying Off For Wolves
Things in the NBA can change in a hurry.
Other things take time.
The new-look Timberwolves weren’t firing on all cylinders to start the season. Jimmy Butler was trying to find his place. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins needed to pick it up defensively. And you could tell the team just wasn’t used to playing with each other, which is understandable considering, well, the team hadn’t played with each other. Three of the team’s starters were new and the bench also had a facelift since coach Tom Thibodeau’s first season.
Here we are in mid-January and the Timberwolves have emerged as one of the best teams in the NBA, sitting at 27-16 overall, fourth in the West and just a game back from the Spurs from third.
Just this week, the team has home wins over the Pelicans, Cavaliers and Thunder, all playoff teams if the season ended today. The Wolves finished the season 3-1 against the Thunder, a team with Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George on it. It’s fine to focus on that, but the Wolves are giving us every reason to focus more on their big three of Butler, Towns and Wiggins. The trio is averaging 59.6 points, 21.4 rebounds, 9.0 assists and 4.1 steals per game.
Minnesota has won 10 of its last 13 games and excitement is rolling high surrounding a team that hasn’t made the postseason since 2003-04.
The Wolves have sold out five-straight games, the most consecutive games since 2003-04, the only time in team history the team has made the Western Conference Finals.
“It’s great. Everyone’s coming out to watch us play, we’re winning, playing good basketball,” Wiggins said after Monday’s win over Cleveland. “Everyone’s playing together and we’re giving the fans what they want to see.”
The Wolves will have to keep it up even with a four-game lead from four to five in the West. Seven of the team’s next 11 games are on the road, ranging from Orlando to Golden State to Toronto.
Since. Dec. 18, the Wolves are first in the league in offensive rating, fourth in defensive rating and first in overall net rating.
It's too early to talk about what could happen in April and May, but the fact that we're mentioning it is telling.