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The Canis Sunday Scaries, Vol. II: It’s About Time

The Timberwolves are starting to galvanize - and prove that preseason expectations were not a pipe dream.

Let’s get this out of the way first and foremost — it feels way better to write about the Timberwolves when they’ve won three straight.

At this time last Sunday, the biggest task at hand was decoding the mystery that was the Los Angeles road trip. A rout of the middling Los Angeles Lakers followed by getting dismantled by the surging Los Angeles Clippers. Huh?

As weird as it was to experience and utter domination followed by a rollover, clarity came this week in the form of a three-game win streak.

Cohesion: What a beautiful sight to see.

The previous offensive output from Russell, KAT, and Anthony Edwards was only part of the problem. On a larger scale, there was no blanket trust in any sort of offense.

Chris Finch was spot-on in his postgame presser Saturday night. Paraphrasing, he mentioned there seems to be an increasing amount of trust among everyone that by passing the ball, you’ll receive it back.

That explains a lot, and connects many dots on what we saw in the early-season offense. There wasn’t any movement or cohesion. Often times, if Edwards had the ball, D-Lo would be directly to his left holding his hands up asking for the ball, and vice versa. Or when KAT would have the ball in a post-up situation, nobody would move around him. All to say, there was no shortage of waiting around for a double team and expecting to get a hard-to-make kick out pass. Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers.

The last thing I want to do is make it seem like all is perfect with this team right now, and the offense is fixed from here on out.

Just as it was stupid to rush to quick conclusions that this team was dead in the water after nine games, it’s stupid to crown this team as a juggernaut after 3 great games against one slightly-average and below-average opponents.

The expectation going into the year is that this team, if healthy, should make the play-in tournament at the end of the season, at minimum. Slip ups and off nights are going to happen, but hopefully this uptick in offensive fluidity can put the weeks behind us in which we see double-digit collapses in back to back games, are no longer worried about no-shows on a night in and night out basis, and aren’t left guessing as much which team we will see every game.

What am I long-windedly trying to say? This team is incredibly exciting and starting to look like what we wanted. It would be amazing if this started to round into an expectation.

Simply put — the Timberwolves will be the most interesting team in basketball to watch this week.

They can’t, and won’t (knocks on wood), lose to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. I’m not good at math, but if the Pelicans beat them, half of their wins would come against the Timberwolves.

A win against New Orleans Monday would put the Wolves at four straight wins and make them one of the hottest teams in basketball rolling into a date with Jimmy Butler and the Heat in Miami on Wednesday, the “call Rachel Nichols” bowl. If this scenario ends up happening, it’s a great measuring stick game to see where the team is as they start to galvanize. Jimmy Butler guarding Anthony Edwards? KAT vs. Bam? Tyler Herro and D’Angelo Russell going toe-to-toe?

Sign me up, and this doesn’t even mention the proceeding game against Charlotte on Friday.

My spot-on predictions for the week are as follows:

*Team-high scorer predictions noted

Monday, 11/22 - Timberwolves 108, Pelicans 88 - Karl-Anthony Towns 28 points

Wednesday, 11/24 - Heat 111, Timberwolves 95 - D’Angelo Russell 24 points

Friday, 11/26 - Timberwolves 105, Hornets 98 - Anthony Edwards 29 points

Saturday, 11/28 - 76ers 118, Timberwolves 112 - Karl-Anthony Towns 34 points

Let’s ride...