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The frustration is creeping beyond the injury bug. The Wolves have dropped now four in a row. They’re officially 4-12 since losing Rubio to the knee injury. It’s visibly obvious by the somber faces that tread head down off the court that the season has officially taken a turn for the worse.
Forget the playoffs, it’s time for players to tryout for next season.
Tonight’s game was just the nail in the coffin, in my opinion. The season isn’t over yet — we can still tickle our fancies by finding subtleties to grin at like Brad Miller dropping three three-pointers in Sac-town, or even the development of Malcolm Lee, who looks ready to take on a bulk of minutes with fresh legs and a head of steam. But in terms of reaching the playoffs and shocking the basketball world, that dream disintegrated right before our eyes.
The dream that was to reach the playoffs and maybe even surprise millions by backing a top-seed against the ropes is so far-fetched at this point, and even the players know it. All that’s left to do is play hard and hopefully end the season with an ounce of momentum heading into the offseason. It looked like that could’ve been the case in tonight’s first half. The Wolves actually commanded the game in all facets in the first half. Nikola Pekovic brutalized the Warriors’ bigs down low, and the defense — for the first time in weeks — played with some gravitas and had some life; they’re hands were active and they closed out on shooters.
The Wolves donned a 20-point lead at one point. With a win in sight, there was nothing left to do but coast, right? The Wolves gave up a small run early in the third. That small run soon turned into a big run, and the Warriors ended up outscoring the Wolves 38-20 in the third. Completely discombobulated, the Wolves mustered up all they had left to stay in it in the fourth. Wayne Ellington must be thanked for that. At one point, Ellington went on a 7-0 run. . . By himself. Ellington’s jumper off the screen continued to fall but so did David Lee’s Kevin-Love-like act. Lee was an unstoppable force, sinking a season-high 31 points. (Think the Wolves could use an inside defender?)
In the end, Lee defeated Love and the Wolves at their own game with 44 points in the paint, while the Wolves failed to limit their turnovers.
At this point it’s hard to even spill out any game analysis without spewing any frustrating criticism. It’s tough to swallow the fact that such a captivating and rejuvenating season has come to such a painful and disappointing end. But it doesn’t stop there. No, this spiraling downfall has no end in sight, with the bottomless pit swooping straight through the NBA draft with likely no draft pick to cradle the free fall. Sure, the injury bug will soon shoo away but that just means more waiting, more patience, and more raw frustration that this team still can’t reach mediocrity.
Anyways, next up the Wolves head to New Orleans to face the Hornets on Saturday night. The two-day break will be relieving, I’m sure, but until they put their game faces on and prove they can win even snakebitten with injuries, this season is officially at a loss.