I had to sleep on this one. It was tough to take. A ten point lead entering the 4th quarter. A missed charge/block call, free throws that would have given the Wolves a lead with 2 seconds left, and it was all shit.
Another close loss. 0-9 in games decided by 4 points or less. After years of being crap, we just can't break the cycle.
It's hard to swallow. Not so much that Kevin Durant caught fire in the 4th quarter: he's a great scorer and that's what he does. Sometimes he's going to bury you in makes. But the failure to grab a rebound, instead letting Jeremy Lamb score on a putback with just over a minute left, and Love's failures at the free throw line (a miss on an and-1 that would have given the Wolves the lead with under 30 seconds left, then the misses at the end) were late, game-costing mistakes that will haunt.
I have been of the opinion that their lack of success this season in close games is mostly down to luck. I don't believe in banana sandwiches, and even if I did, it isn't as if Love didn't make a bunch of huge plays down the stretch of this game. Or Pek didn't convert a huge tip-in to keep them in it.
But after last night, and the Clipper overtime loss that should never have been, and, and, and. it's getting harder to maintain belief. The 13 game stretch beginning with Washington right after Christmas was absolutely going to be decisive. A home heavy stretch leading to the halfway point against beatable opponents: I thought the could go 10-3, and that they probably needed to go 10-3 if they were going to seriously contend for the playoffs. Right now, they are 3-2, with absolutely brutal losses at home to Dallas and the Thunder.
I don't know what to say anymore. You can point to so many games and just think: one more make for the Wolves or miss for the opponent...the would-be game winner in Cleveland. Martell Webster in Washington. Durant/Love last night. This is the NBA, there are going to be close games. You don't blow everyone out. At some point, they have to win some close ones, or at least I think they do.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there is something inherent. Some would say that it showed last night: Durant making the winner off the dribble. But Love had just scored on a dribble drive of his own, (and missed the free throw), and had his own chance at the line afterwards.
Some of you seem to take solace in blaming the refs, but I don't see it. They missed the block/charge call on Collison, but sent Love to the line twice late when the calls didn't have to be made. Yeah, they missed the one against the Mavs at the end, but the Wolves have gotten their share of calls this year.
Maybe it has something to do with Rubio being a non-threat to score, so it's harder to run plays late with him driving. Maybe it has something to do with their weakness defending the rim.
I don't know. I don't really think it's any one thing. And in truth, they don't have to be great in close games. Merely average would probably suffice. But they haven't been, and it's costing them.
Once again, the boulder rolled back down the mountain. The Wolves are in Philadelphia tomorrow night to once again try to get back to .500. We'll be watching.
We are Sisyphus.