The Timberwolves came away from Wednesday night's loss to the Clippers defeated but optimistic about the state of their offense. That wasn't the case Friday after blowing a 20-point lead in a 104-84 loss again to the Clippers.
The culprit? Lack of ball movement and lack of movement in general from the players, the same issues they've had the first few weeks of the season.
The Wolves offense scored just four points during the first 9 minutes, 26 seconds of the third quarter as the Clippers erased that large deficit with not much trouble. The Wolves finished shooting 35%.
According to coach Chris Finch, the Wolves were trying to do too much individually to score.
"Guys are just trying to do everything by themselves and when things get hard and we have no flow... " Finch said. "Had opportunities to get out and run, and we don't have any pop in transition. We need easy ones as much as we can possibly get and just too much hijacking of the offense."
This is a lesson the Wolves have to learn if they want to start winning, said Malik Beasley, who had 18 points off the bench.
"We're at a point right now where we're just worried about different things instead of just winning," Beasley said. "That's what we need to do. We need to focus on winning and being a team. Everybody gets paid when we're winning. Everybody does great when we're winning. Once we figure that out, we'll be a great team."
One of the problems with the Wolves offense is there isn't anybody that can create off the dribble on a reliable basis other than Anthony Edwards. Edwards said it can be tiring to be the one attacking the rim most of the time when he's not getting calls or able to finish.
"If I ain't going, then all the coaches looking at me like 'Go to the rim!' " Edwards said. "I'm like, 'I'm the only one going to the rim.' I get it, man. I have fun with it. I don't know, man. I just try to have fun, bruh."
Edwards said the return of D'Angelo Russell from a right ankle sprain should help the offense because Russell can take pressure of Karl-Anthony Towns, who was again seeing frequent double and triple teams. But the Wolves still led Friday's game by 20 even without Russell. Finch likes to say the ball gets "sticky" at times with the offense. It looked like it was stuck with super glue at times.
"When you're going to double KAT all the time we can create shots out of it, and we did that for a little bit in the third quarter, but at
the same time, it doesn't feel like there's a great rhythm out there," Finch said. "And that's only going to come when we get back to playing with more speed, more early pass-pass, more early structure. We have all that in, we just aren't doing that right now."
The Wolves do fine when they can get in transition. Their half-court offense is another matter and if that doesn't improve the season can go south quickly.
"We need more ball movement," Edwards said. "I've got to move the ball more, I've got to get to the rim more, get to the free-throw line more. We've just got to sacrifice for our teammates and try to come up with a win."