Apr 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) between plays against the Golden State Warriors during the third quarter at Oracle Arena. The Golden State Warriors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 130-120. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

A brief ode to the season, and a game preview: Wolves (40-41) vs. Jazz (24-57)

Apr 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) grabs the ball pre game at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight officially marks the end of the season for another playoff-less edition of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Or, the start of the second season for the Wolves of the past ten years, as fans will again look forward to the NBA draft at the end of June.

We’ll have a proper wrap-up and reflection of the 2013-14 campaign in the very near future, but let’s keep in mind that, if the Wolves are indeed able to finish off the season with a home victory against a bad Utah Jazz squad, a 41-41 record isn’t bad. In many years, 41 wins is a ticket to the playoffs. In fact, it would indeed land the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference this season, were the Wolves to be so fortunate.

In a vacuum, going from 31 wins a year ago to 41 wins this season looks quite nice. Perhaps our pre-season expectations for Rick Adelman‘s crew were simply too lofty.

And the above can all be true, but it doesn’t mean that there weren’t an absurdly high number of wins left on the table. We hoped for more, and we probably should have gotten more out of this team. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Tonight is “Fan Appreciation Night”.  The Wolves should be able to take the lowly, worst-in-the-West Jazz to the woodshed early and often, and it should be a relatively easy win. Utah is just 8-32 away from the friendly confines of EnergySolutions Arena, and the Wolves need to jump out to an early lead and coast to their first non-losing season in a decade.

And really, that would be something to smile about. After the expectations and ultimate frustration that this season gave us, let’s not forget how big of a difference a 41-41, .500% season would be, compared to 40-42, which is nothing but another losing season.

Additionally, for all the frustration and hand-wringing (myself included) over Rick Adelman’s rotations, etc., he’s a Hall of Fame coach. And more likely than not, this is his final game.

So let’s root for #41 tonight, and enjoy this team for what it is: a top-six, superstar player draining threes and cleaning the glass while a passing savant orchestrates Adelman’s gorgeous offensive sets, possibly for the last time under his tutelage. A whirling dervish that is more parts drunken wacky arm-waving inflatable tube man than productive wing player, but still a joy to watch and an occasional net-plus on the court. And a still-emerging rookie center that has been a revelation for the better part of the past two months.

41 wins, 40 wins…wherever the ‘W’ column ends up at the final buzzer of the season, this team has competed. It’s cliche and it’s a phrase that I don’t like, but it’s true. Even after being eliminated from the playoffs, the Wolves have beaten the likes of the Heat and the Spurs, and has looked good doing it. Let’s enjoy supporting the squad tonight, and hope for a great off-season and a better 2014-15.

We’ll see you all back here after the game season for a game recap, and throughout the coming weeks for playoff thoughts and off-season previews.

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Tags: Gorgui Dieng Kevin Love Minnesota Timberwolves Rick Adelman Ricky Rubio

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