While there were some positives to take from a matchup with arguably the best team in the league, it is still remarkably frustrating to watch a team lose games in the same way over and over. The Minnesota Timberwolves once again got absolutely killed in the rebounding battle, and it cost them dearly. The Boston Celtics out-rebounded them 53 to 45, and had 20 second-chance points to 15.
It’s just ... infuriating. Almost every loss is the same in that sense. This team traded for Rudy freaking Gobert and still can’t get a defensive rebound to save their life, and so many are at fault.
They just, as a team, don’t block out their man. I realize that this is the NBA and not the NSIC, and boxing-out isn’t quite as big of a deal, but my goodness does this team just stare at the ball when a shot goes up. That just is not going to get the job done, especially not against a team with real dreams of winning the NBA Finals this season.
Chris Finch: "We're not going to take the next step as a team until we rebound better."— Jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) December 24, 2022
There were more issues than just the rebounding though. I really want Jaylen Nowell to succeed, especially in a contract year, but he is really pressing right now. It feels like every time he touches the ball, a shot goes up regardless of the circumstance. Nowell is a skilled shot-maker, but he also needs to play within the offense and move the ball. He needs to trust that once he moves off of the ball, that it will find it’s way back to him. He’s trying to do too much right now, and tonight’s 6-17 shooting performance in 22 minutes is an example of that.
That said, it is the holiday season and I really don’t want to be grumpy on this Friday night. The team let go of the rope in the fourth quarter and that was disappointing, but all things considered this was always in the range of outcomes without four of their top-eight contributors. The most important thing this team can do right now is get healthy.
In particular, Karl-Anthony Towns’ absence is more noticeable with each double team that is sent Ant’s way. You can’t throw two guys at Edwards when another player as good as Towns is on the floor, but their creation outside of Ant is just not reliable enough to truly strike fear into opponents.
Here’s to good health, and a happy holiday season. See you all on Monday for a date with General Soreness.