The big trade on Tuesday night did not serve to shake the Wolves out of their lethargy, and a short-handed home team fell to the Eastern Conference bottom dwelling Atlanta Hawks 12-. The final score is not indicative of a game the Hawks dominated throughout, building a 20 point lead in the third quarter and cruising from there to send the Wolves to their 13th straight loss.
At this point, what is there to say? The Wolves once again lacked the necessary urgency to win, a problem that is looming larger and larger as the season continues. Nobody really stepped up, least of all best player Karl-Anthony Towns and theoretical second best Andrew Wiggins.
It was ugly from the start, as once again the Wolves set themselves up for a mismatch by starting Kelan Martin at the power forward position. With the Hawks starting two bigs—John Collins and Damian Jones, they simply isolated whichever big had the advantage and punished the Wolves in the paint early in the game. It was as predicable as it was frustrating, as both guys, especially Collins, had their way inside throughout.
The Wolves actually switched things up to start the second half, with Naz Reid next to Towns in a bigger lineup, but Reid committed fouls on three straight possessions on rolling bigs, and that was that. The two Hawks starting big men combined for 41 points on 17-26 shooting in a defensive display by the Wolves that rivals the worst we’ve seen all season.
Meanwhile, as might have been expected, the Wolves also could not stop Trae Young, who exploded especially in the second half with a series of three pointers interspersed with drives that frequently led to trips to the line. He finished with 38 and 11 assists. Truthfully, the Wolves took nothing away, allowing the Hawks to shoot 52 percent from the field and get to the line 30 times. It was an abysmal performance.
I really have no desire to write more about this game, so let’s just hit a few notes and call it a night:
- It’s probably not a good sign when Jordan McLaughlin and Josh Okogie are your two best players on the night, but that’s where we are.
- Naz Reid had a nice stretch in the second quarter where he scored 10 points in just a few minutes, but we saw the downside in the third quarter when he couldn’t stop fouling.
- The Wolves look well and truly beaten down, which does not speak well for the “culture.” The are getting their asses handed to them on a nightly basis and don’t react at all.