CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Multiple times since getting the Timberwolves coaching job, Chris Finch has described himself as an "even keel" type of guy. Someone who doesn't get too emotional, win or lose.
Finch's outer demeanor and tone of voice was the same after Friday's 133-115 loss to Charlotte as it was before: the picture of placidity.
There was no outward display of dissatisfaction, no rise in volume of his voice.
The substance of his words, however, was more cutting.
The Wolves were playing without Patrick Beverley, who will be re-evaluated in about two weeks after suffering a left adductor strain in Wednesday's win over Miami. To Finch, Beverley's absence was no crutch for the way the Wolves played in allowing Charlotte to hit a season high 23-for-40 from three-point range. His players just needed to play better, and that had little to do with Beverley's lack of availability. Beverley couldn't show up because he was injured. The rest of the Wolves had no excuse.
"Obviously we missed Pat Beverley but ... I can go through a litany of guys who played but gave us nothing as well. Not at a high enough level," Finch said. "It was other guys that needed to play a lot better. That really was more of the story for me than not having Pat."
That story included the Wolves' woeful ball containment both in transition and in the halfcourt. LaMelo Ball had 10 points with 13 assists while Charlotte had 26 fast-break points that included multiple home-run passes that turned into layups. Those were a part of the Wolves' game plan. They just lacked the focus to stop them.
"Our defensive integrity was not there tonight at all," Finch said.
That lack of integrity allowed Kelly Oubre to be the beneficiary of the Wolves' halfcourt breakdowns. Oubre tied a career high with seven made threes on 13 attempts for a game-high 27 points. Finch said there should not have been much mystery for what that "litany" of players needed to do better Friday.
"I'll start by saying this, if they don't know they needed to play better before I could address it, then we probably have bigger problems than we thought," Finch said. "These guys know they didn't play well tonight. We got to try to get some of them to play a little better tomorrow and that's all we can do right now."
Finch communicated that message in a matter-of-fact way postgame, according to Malik Beasley, who had 18 points.
"He told us straight up we have to be better. That it was embarrassing," Beasley said. "I felt the same way. It was embarrassing."
The Wolves started the night by committing four turnovers in the first 3 minutes, 10 seconds. Those miscues prompted an early timeout from Finch. They cleared up the turnovers the rest of the night but not their defense. Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and seven rebounds. Anthony Edwards, who declined an interview request, had 11 one game after scoring 33. Towns said if the Wolves really want to turn a corner as a franchise, Beverley's absence can't be an excuse.
"We got beat like the old Wolves," Towns said. "This is not the new Wolves we've been talking about."
Finch was asked if this game reminded him of some of the Wolves' earlier stumbles in a six-game losing streak before their recent win streak.
He said it did not.
"Actually in those games we probably competed better than we did [Friday]," Finch said. "We didn't compete defensively at all."
Similar to his other comments, there was no noticeable difference in his delivery, like a parent who wasn't angry, just very disappointed.