GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Saturday, January 01, 2005

A Tough Loss To Swallow

This is getting frustrating.

Less than a week and a half after blowing a 12-point lead in San Antonio, the Wolves blew a 15-point lead and wasted a great effort by Kevin Garnett. As Pete pointed out before, the game in San Antonio was lost just after half-time. I can point to two parts where this one was lost. The second quarter, and the end of the third.

Before the game, T-wolves announcer Jim Peterson made a comment about how the Wolves success at home was due in large part to move the ball well. For some reason, he said, they just seemed to do it better at home. Then, right on cue, the wolves came out, moved the ball well, and took a 15-point lead.

Then came the second quarter, and everything changed. The Wolves could have pretty much ended the game there. Had they kept up what they had been doing in the first quarter, they could have demoralized the Grizz and taken a huge lead to the locker room at halftime. Instead, we only went in up 7 (and it would have been 4 had it not been for a Sprewell three at the buzzer). I'm not sure exactly what happened, but the ball movement completely disappeared. One person would just take the ball, dribble around, and settle for a midrange jumper.

Watching this made me think of Pete's last post, where he mentioned Popovich taking a timeout after the Spurs allowed one basket and were up 14-4. I could see our play deteriorating and would have liked to see Flip call timeout a bit sooner that he did. When he finally did, it didn't seem to help much as our play was just as stagnant as it had been before.

Then halftime came and the Wolves started out the third quarter the same way they started off the game. They again looked strong and poised to win the game easily. However, with 3:12 left in the quarter, KG picked up his fourth foul and had to sit. After this, the Wolves completely lost their composure. Their play on offense was worse than the second quarter. They weren't just settling for jump shots, they were being extraordinarily sloppy. At one point, I believe they turned the ball over on three straight possessions.

Things were no better on defense. It seemed like every shot for the Grizzlies was a layup. Pao was taking over the game and ended up 9-10 from the field. Not to take too much away from Pao, but I could have gone 9-10 with the shots he was getting. The Grizzlies ended the quarter on a 13-0 run, and continued pummeling the Wolves through the beginning of the fourth quarter, until Garnett came back in and was able to rally the Wolves back into the game, but not close enough.

At many points during the game, you could hear the Target Center crowd starting to boo as the game went to commercial. And rightfully so. The Wolves are not playing like a team that wants to win right now, and I just can't figure it out. They play well in stretches, but then just seem to become complacent and lose focus.