That was absolutely pathetic. Giving up 122 points to the Magic? Come on. It is unacceptable to give up 71 points in a half to the team with the *checks notes* 26th ranked offense in the NBA.
While it was a putrid performance from the Timberwolves, it provided us with clarity. Most of us knew that the Timberwolves weren’t a playoff squad. They entered the night four games back of the 8th seed, and clearly struggling. There was little hope for a legitimate playoff run.
Unfortunately, the front office didn’t know that. They chose to sit on their hands leading up to the trade deadline without moving any expiring contracts for future assets. Management still views this team as a playoff contender, and I genuinely do not know why. That, my friends, is ignorance.
Scott Layden, when asked if the Wolves are pushing for playoffs, and how that guided their deadline actions. "It's critical to us to win. There’s no doubt about that. Our No. 1 focus is to put a winning team on the floor. That was on our mind constantly during the whole process."— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) February 7, 2019
I know Ryan Saunders has a lot of supporters in the Minneapolis area, but the Wolves’ pick and roll defense has been truly horrific under him. The Magic ran PNR over and over and met no resistance. It is hard to overstate just how poorly Minnesota played on that end of the floor.
Terrence Ross is a nice NBA player capable of filling it up at any time, but Minnesota made him look like Steph Curry tonight. Ross finished with 32 for the game on 13 for 23 from the field and 6 for 13 from three. That’s simply inexcusable.
Nearly all of the Magic had one of their best offensive performances of the year, so let’s just leave it at that.
The other thing that became clear tonight was that if Minnesota does not shake things up with this roster and front office soon, the Wolves will find themselves in an Anthony Davis situation sooner rather than later with Karl-Anthony Towns. I’m sure Towns would never say that to anyone, but it would be nearly impossible to blame him after performances like tonight.
Towns was dominant offensively. The Magic simply could not guard him. He finished with 27/11/5 on 12 for 16 from the field and it just didn’t matter. When you get that kind of production from your star and still manage to lose to a team that was 10 games below .500, that’s a problem. Towns has improved so much this year, especially as a passer. He deserves better than this.
If there’s a positive to take away from tonight beyond Towns’ stellar play, it’s the play of Dario Saric. Tonight was the second consecutive game in which Saric was very clearly the Wolves’ second best player. He picked up right where he left off against Memphis, totaling 17 & 8 on 7 for 11 from the field and 3 for 6 from three. Saric is an important piece of this team moving forward. His overall involvement and happiness should be at or near the top of the priority list for Minnesota to finish out the season.
Also, Andrew Wiggins was 10 for 28 tonight. Great.
This was a truly uninspiring performance. It may be too early to tell, but it sure seems that Minnesota botched their approach to the trade deadline.