It’s the same old story, and Minnesota Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau seems sick of it. Once again the Wolves folded in the 3rd quarter, this time after leading 58-46 at halftime and getting outscored 36-17 in the third.
“It’s the commitment to improve and to learn, to not repeat the same mistakes over and over again,” he said, visibly upset, in his postgame comments. “A big part of learning is trial and error, so when you go through something and it doesn’t work you should learn from it — the second time around it shouldn’t be the same way.”
Asked directly if the Wolves’ third quarter issues were related to their youth, Thibodeau dismissed the notion.
“We could use youth as an excuse forever,” he said. “We’ve got guys who’ve been in the league for a while now, we’re making mistakes that should never be made — from fouling jump shooters, reckless passes, turnovers — it’s all decision making.”
The Hornets scored 69 points in the second half, buoyed by their impressive third quarter.
“That’s the best half we’ve played all year,” said Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford. “It would be hard for us to play better than we did in the second half on both ends of the floor.”
Karl-Anthony Towns put most of the blame on his shoulders. On one hand, it’s what leaders do; on the other hand, hero ball has been a main culprit in the team’s 3rd quarter disasters. “I just have to play better,” he said. “All these losses fall on me.”
Andrew Wiggins said the team talks about fixing the 3rd quarter issues all the time, and that they are meaningful, but they need to take action if they’re going to avoid sinking farther in the standings after beginning the year 3-7.
Gorgui Dieng was thoughtful in his responses, saying that the team needs to move the ball like they do in the first half of games, and that defense is a team concept and can break down quickly once an opponent gets on a roll. “We need to be more vocal, period,” he said. “A lot of guys think about their offensive game and not about defense.”
And finally Ricky Rubio appeared fed up with all of it. He’s the longest tenured Timberwolf, feels like this team is the best one he’s been on, and wants to see them finally break through after years of losing.