You hate to use such strong language, but this was a rather embarrassing effort from the Wolves in the second half, leading to a bad, bad loss against the Charlotte Hornets. The Wolves led by 10 points at halftime, and managed to give it all away in the third quarter, which they lost 39-21. They then gave away a few points right at the start of the fourth quarter, which resulted in a hole too deep to dig themselves out of.
It hurt that they shot the ball poorly tonight from distance, going just 9 for 41 from the three-point line. Bad shooting nights happen, but it was more bizarre to see Karl-Anthony Towns shoot as poorly as he did. Charlotte left him open for most of the night, and he just couldn’t take advantage. Towns finished just 6 for 22 from the field, and 1 for 11 from three.
As nice as it would be to just blame this loss on shooting variance, the truth is that Minnesota’s poor shooting only amplified how poorly they played elsewhere in the second half. Could they have won with more normal shooting? Of course, but even given how poorly they shot, this should’ve been a game that Minnesota won.
Jaden McDaniels was in foul trouble most of the evening, and it was almost shocking how bad the Wolves perimeter defense was when he was out of the game. It was a free lane to the rim whenever McDaniels was out, and it only resulted in more fouls from the rest of the team.
The Wolves spent the second half fouling, but they spent the entire night turning the ball over, which gave Charlotte easy looks in transition for much of the evening. It was a team effort in that respect, as six players had two or more turnovers, and they finished with 16 as a team. The team fouled 27 times, as well.
It was really just a sloppy night, and it was reminiscent of some of their earlier losses this year. They routinely didn’t do the little things, as evidenced by not getting either available rebound on Charlotte’s final possession of the game.
It didn’t help that the Wolves were without Taurean Prince and Jordan McLaughlin, but this Charlotte team was also missing Gordon Hayward, LaMelo Ball, Cody Martin, and Dennis Smith Jr. There are just no excuses for that kind of loss, especially coming off of your best performance of the season. It reeked of a team who was feeling a little too good about themselves after their recent winning streak.
The team did re-gather and make a late charge, but it was just too little, too late. The Wolves seemed to be able to expect to go through the motions and still come away with a victory. As they’ve learned numerous times early this season, that’s now how this league works.
The Wolves are back in action Sunday afternoon, when they host the reigning champion Golden State Warriors.