See more of the story

PORTLAND, ORE. – Before every NBA game, the visiting team gets to choose where it wants to shoot in each half. Most of the time under coach Chris Finch, the Timberwolves have opted to play offense in front of their bench in the first half and defense in the second.

Part of the thinking is coaches and players can communicate more easily on the defensive end of the floor in crucial moments if the bench is right there.

But ever since he got to Minnesota, center Rudy Gobert has been advocating for the Wolves to flip the dynamic — that they should play offense in front of their bench during the second half.

After the Wolves had another second-half collapse against Chicago last week, Finch relented and listened to Gobert. For the previous three games, the Wolves opted for offense in front of their bench in the second halves. Gobert was quick to point out after Tuesday's win over Portland that the Wolves are 3-0 when they do this. He believes the positive vibes flowing from the bench help the Wolves on offense.

"I was looking back at some of the games where we blew leads in the fourth, too, I realized most of those games, the offense was on the other side," Gobert said. "I realized that when we attack on our side, it's kind of like the energy of the bench, especially when you're on the road and it's the second half, I feel like we're a team that really feeds off that."

Finch has been glad he made the switch, mostly because it pleases Gobert.

"What I like most about it is it made Rudy really happy, and a happy Rudy is a good Rudy for us," Finch said. "He had been on me for a year and a half to do it. We decided that we'd do it, and for whatever reason, what those guys want, whatever positive energy and vibes it gives them, I'm all for that."

Sign up for our Timberwolves Update newsletter

In their three wins since making the switch, the Wolves haven't had to play any close games in the final minutes because they have pulled away in the third or fourth quarter of each win. So the jury is still out on the move's effectiveness in helping the Wolves execute in the final minutes of a close game. But it seemed to help the Wolves early in the fourth quarter Tuesday when they made a run after Portland retook the lead.

"The guys feed off [the bench's energy]," Gobert said. "And I feel like the offense is better in front of our bench. I don't know the numbers about it, but I know that second half, it feels good."

Gobert said one reason he pushed for Finch to make the change was because he can captain the defense in a noisy environment on the road and make the right adjustments and calls in the moment. Because the Wolves have the No. 1 defense in the NBA this season, the offense could use the extra help in communicating with the bench at key times as well.

"That was the argument," Gobert said. "We usually want the defense on our side, but I said, I got the defense, so you guys can focus on the offense."