The young Minnesota Timberwolves are starting to hit their stride.
After a bumpy start to the season under new coach Tom Thibodeau,
Minnesota is beginning to figure things out on both sides of the
ball. Though the Timberwolves’ overall record of 17-28 might not
appear inspiring, Thibodeau’s squad has won three straight.
In fact, Minnesota is 6-2 in its last eight games, including
Tuesday’s 112-111 win over Phoenix that was capped by an Andrew
The last-second dagger by Wiggins put the finishing touches on his
31-point night, which elevated Minnesota to just 2 1/2 games out of
the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“In the fourth quarter, you have to have the courage to take and
make, and he does,” Thibodeau told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
about Wiggins, now in his third season with the Timberwolves. “So
the more he does it, the more comfortable he’s going to get. We all
have a lot of confidence in him.”
Minnesota, a team hoping to make the postseason for the first time
since 2004, will face off Thursday against an Indiana Pacers squad
trying to hold onto its spot in the top eight teams in the East.
The Pacers are trending in the opposite direction as Minnesota,
having lost their last three games to drop to .500 (22-22).
Indiana’s latest loss, a 109-103 defeat at the hands of the New
York Knicks, drew boos from the Pacers fans in Indianapolis.
“They pay their money, their hard-earned money to watch us play.
They got the right to do whatever they want,” Pacers star Paul
George told The Indianapolis Star on Tuesday. “It doesn’t hurt me.
It doesn’t hurt my feelings. Just know we work harder off of cheers
Thursday marks the first of two meetings this season between the
Pacers and Timberwolves. Indiana won both matchups against
Minnesota a season ago.
The Pacers will have a newer starting lineup on Thursday. On
Monday, Indiana coach Nate McMillan inserted C.J. Miles into the
starting rotation in place of Glenn Robinson III. Miles scored 10
points on 4-of-14 shooting from the field in his first start since
McMillan told reporters that Miles will also start Thursday in
Minneapolis, but anything past that game remains a question mark.
“(We want) to put our guys in the best position where both units
are going to flow,” McMillan told The Indianapolis Star. “I don’t
want to be going back and forth with lineups. I think it’s
important for players to know their role.”
All three of Minnesota’s victories in its winning streak have been
closely contested. According to the team, it’s the first time in
franchise history the Timberwolves have won three straight games by
three points or less.
Before beating the Suns by one point, the Timberwolves topped both
the Nuggets and Clippers by three points each.
“Early in the season, we were down and everybody was panicking,”
Minnesota center Gorgui Dieng told the Timberwolves Radio Network.
“Now, you’re seeing we’re playing team basketball.”