Despite the Timberwolves’ strong start to the season, they’ve had recurring issues when it comes to holding onto large leads.
The Timberwolves are currently 36-25 at the All-Star break and are well on pace to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04, which would end what is the longest current drought in the NBA.
The Wolves are currently the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, sitting two games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder and in a virtual tie for third-place with the San Antonio Spurs.
There are, of course, plenty of reasons for fans to be excited. There are also some legitimate concerns. One of them has been their inability to hold onto big leads.
Barring a major collapse, this team should make it to the playoffs. But if they do not get a top-five seed or land home court advantage in the first round, those blown leads would definitely be a main reason as to why.
The most recent blown lead came in a 114-113 loss to the Chicago Bulls on the road nearly two weeks ago; the Wolves were up 17 points in the third quarter. Minnesota also lost an 11-point lead last month to the Atlanta Hawks and a 20-point third quarter lead to the Milwaukee Bucks two months ago.
From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
"“We’re not good enough to think that the game is over five minutes into the third quarter,” coach Tom Thibodeau said after the Bulls loss. “We messed around, we played with fire and we got burned.”"
Of course, fans should be very excited about where this team is heading especially with how the past 13 years have gone, but certain losses can really hurt a team later on in the season.
There have also been some nice comeback wins, including their last win over the Los Angeles Lakers, just prior to the All-Star break. Blowing big leads is still concerning, however, especially when it happens against teams that are not very good.
Safe to say, however, that the season has had more positives than negatives. The additions of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford especially have been huge. There are only 21 games left before the playoffs start, and every game is very critical going forward.