Chip Scoggins
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They trash-talk opponents and commandeer the T-shirt launcher to blast souvenirs into the crowd and use the word "swag" as a noun, verb and adjective.

And sometimes, such as Saturday, they fight.

Actually, it was only a few harmless shoves, but the competitive fight was on display again.

Once treated as NBA doormats, the Timberwolves are filled with bravado. Too much bravado, some believe, which is nonsense. Those in the "win-something-first" camp haven't paid close enough attention to Wolves history.

Timberwolves basketball has been a joyless existence for too long, a pushover easily ignored.

Their personality is changing before our eyes. They finally have a fun, energetic, brash, confident, likeable roster. A lot of bark, a lot of bite.

They also have a little crazy to them. A little crazy is good.

If they get under the skin of opponents, so be it.

The Wolves are smack-dab in the playoff race, playing meaningful games in March, and the vibe feels unlike anything Target Center has witnessed since Kevin Garnett wore the uniform.

A 138-119 victory over a Milwaukee Bucks team missing Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the Wolves a four-game winning streak and 10 victories in 11 games.

This is fun. This is so different. Give them a megaphone, not a muzzle.

"We've got a lot of strong personalities, a lot of outgoing guys," coach Chris Finch said. "Just try to let them be themselves. They're young. They're excitable. They like each other. They root for each other. I won't dampen their spirits too much."

OK, so Patrick Beverley getting himself ejected in the first quarter against the defending NBA champions was less than ideal. But the spirit and toughness that Pat Bev has injected into the organization is worth an occasional inopportune outburst.

The Wolves look like a team that has been emboldened by its alpha personalities.

Earlier this season, Anthony Edwards turned to an opposing coach after making back-to-back three-pointers and encouraged him to call a timeout.

The Wolves angered the Los Angeles Lakers this past week by mocking Russell Westbrook's airball. With Target Center revved up for the Bucks, the Wolves hit the floor extra feisty.

Beverley got into a skirmish with Serge Ibaka in the first quarter after Ibaka pushed Taurean Prince as they locked up on a free throw attempt. Beverley ran in and shoved Ibaka in the back.

Bucks guard George Hill pushed Beverley in return, and then Ibaka chased after Beverley. No punches were thrown, but Hill and Beverley drew ejections.

The Wolves gave a mature response. They brushed it off and played terrific.

They caught a fortunate break with Giannis sitting out because of knee soreness, but the Wolves are playing like a team that deserves to be taken seriously.

"I think we've been there for a while," Finch said of his team's confidence.

Good teams know their identity, and the Wolves are establishing who they want to be. They call it swag, a hip term for self-confidence.

Beverley exudes bravado. Edwards plays big, talks big and fears no situation. Karl-Anthony Towns is putting up all-NBA caliber performances and becoming the version that everyone has been waiting to see. Not just putting up stats, but playing winning, impactful basketball.

"It feels like I'm playing the best basketball of my career and it's leading to great wins," he said. "The reason why I'm finding myself playing some of the best basketball of my career is because I have some of the best teammates I've ever had."

The whole vibe feels cool right now. The players are loose and confident. The style of play is entertaining. Finch has been masterful in allowing his players to be themselves and show their personalities while holding them accountable when necessary.

Saturday marked the first of seven consecutive games against playoff teams. This stretch will tell a lot about the Wolves and how they stack up against elite teams.

"Every time we walk into the arena, we feel we should win," Towns said. "If we do what we're supposed to do, we feel it's a guaranteed win."

This is what they mean by swag.