It is becoming difficult to find new ways to say the same things. Every loss seemingly comes down to three things: turning the ball over on offense, giving up a litany of offensive rebounds, and not getting back on defense. Once again, all three doomed the Minnesota Timberwolves at one time or another in bad loss. The Wolves are missing several key players for sure, but a game against the Miami Heat without Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo is a game they should still win.
The Wolves turned the ball over 22 times while only turning Miami over 9 times. Even a horrible offense is going to see a 10-12 point surplus from a discrepancy like that. In a game that was as close as this one was, that was fatal. The main culprits were Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell, who combined for 13 turnovers in total. There were just far too many lazy passes that jumpstarted the Heat offense.
To his credit, Edwards was otherwise very good, finishing with 29/6/7/2/1 on just 16 shots. Still, he is good enough now to ask more of him, and not turning the ball over 8 times isn’t a big ask.
Unfortunately, there just weren’t that many guys who played well along with Edwards. Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid were the lone players I’d say played well with Ant, and that is just not good enough. McDaniels scored an efficient 16 points, while Reid had 21/11 in 29 minutes, and was a team-best +13.
In particular, the Wolves just need more from Rudy Gobert. He was just not a factor at all on either end, and was routinely outworked by a two-way player in Orlando Robinson, who had 7 of Miami’s 13 offensive rebounds. Single game plus/minus is funky, but Gobert’s figure of -14 matched the eye test tonight. Chris Finch chose to close with Naz Reid over Gobert tonight, and while Reid had a rough fourth quarter, it was the correct decision based on how the game had been going.
Ultimately, the Wolves are just not nearly good enough to waltz into a game and expect to win, and that’s exactly wha they tried to do tonight. They were sloppy and it cost them. Anytime you allow your opponent to attempt 23 more shots than you, you’ve not done your job as a team. Not even shooting 54% from the field and 44% from three can overcome that disparity.
Beyond that, there’s just not much more to say that hasn’t already been said ten times already this year. They just keep being bitten by the same flaws over and over again. This team desperately needs to get healthy, but it also needs more out of nearly every single player on the roster who is healthy.
FINAL: Heat 113, Wolves 110— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) December 27, 2022
O. Robinson: 15 pts, 9 reb, 4 ast
Lowry: 18 pts, 9 ast
Strus: 19 pts
Reid: 21 pts, 11 reb, +13
Ant: 29 pts, 7 ast, 8 TO
McDaniels: 16 pts, 4 reb
• Now 16-18
• Lost 64-52 in paint
• 22 TOs --> 15 MIA pts
• 15/34 3PT (44%)
• 13 OREB allowed pic.twitter.com/SPWpTRo6jd