Timberwolves turned a corner while you were sleeping

There may never have been a better team in NBA history than this year’s Golden State Warriors.

There may never been a more directionless NBA franchise than the Minnesota Timberwolves, whose fans have been waiting for a promising team to turn the corner.

Last night, the team turned the corner, beating the Warriors in overtime, and putting a crimp in Golden State’s hope to win more games than any other team in NBA history (they’ll have to go 4-0 the rest of the way).

This season the Timberwolves have now beaten the best team in the league, and lost to the worst team (Philadelphia) in the league.

The win likely guarantees that coach Sam Mitchell, on a one-year trial as interim coach following the death of Flip Saunders in October, will return next season.

  • Gary F

    I pretty much gave up on the T-Wolves for a long time. My son has been getting me back into caring about them. A couple more pieces to the puzzle(including a head coach) and some more experience, and these guys are contenders. Actually fun to watch.

    • In their excellent podcast, Brauer and Robson point out — correctly — that Timberwolves fans are much smarter than fans of other teams in town. I think it’s because all the riff-raff left long ago. :*)

      • Gary F

        This “riff -raff” guy left the T-wolves when McHale, (yes, that long ago) made a comment “I don’t care if he’s an ax murderer, if I can get a good 20 minutes out of him each night, he’s ok for me” or something like that.

      • Matthew Becker

        This is true now, but I think Twins fans were the smartest ones in town before the team moved to Target Field.

        • Tim

          Masochism = intelligence? 🙂

  • Rob

    Beating one team, no matter how good they are, seems like an exceedingly low bar on which to base a coach hiring choice.

    • You’re not basing it on one team. You’re basing it on a level of improvement and coaching a team up. Mitchell, for all his faults, did that.

      • Mike

        Agreed, they have improved over the season, especially the last couple months.

  • MikeB

    Crossing my fingers that they may break through with their young talent but ever so nervous about their front office instability.

    • Jeff

      I worry about injuries too. They have been relatively injury free this year.

      • Actually, Pekovich was the projected starting center. KAT was supposed to come off the bench.

        • Jeff

          By my reckoning this will be Rubio’s first full season without a major injury.

          • Hard to say since a lot of those “injuries” on the team last year were part of the strategy to throw games to get a better draft choice. This isn’t a franchise of high integrity.

          • Jeff

            We’re happy for that now.

          • Vince Tuss

            Now you jinxed it.

          • Better get your duct tape out and start marking off your spot and making dibs for the parade.

          • Vince Tuss

            I was trying to reply to the Rubio avoids major injury but failed. Besides, I thought the accepted way to save space on the street was to leave a lawn chair, whether for a parade in the Twin Cities suburbs or for a Boston parking spot!

          • I believe Easy Bake Oven is the now the preferred parking spot saver.

          • Jeff

            Forever known as the curse of the panda.

        • Mike Worcester

          Would it be fair to figure that K.G. will retire after this year? (Has he said so and I missed it?)

          • I sure hope so. He was finished years ago and while he might be a good coach, you hate to see a guy go out like this.

          • CWebb said during the broadcast last night he’d talked to KG and he was hoping to play the last couple of games this season. Said that he’d not decided anything yet, but would probably do so soon (if I recall all that correctly).

        • Jeff

          Yes, someone should buy him a chocolate doughnut.

  • Jeff

    Sigh, I watched into the 3rd quarter then went to bed expecting the inevitable. GS seemed to be toying with them, every time the Wolves got close then GS would build another big lead. The announcers also seemed effusive about GS and dismissive about the Wolves like they were the Generals. Disappointed I missed the comeuppance.

    • Jeff

      I like reading the opposition’s newspaper account of the game http://www.sfchronicle.com/sports/jenkins/article/Warriors-shocked-by-the-lowly-Wolves-7230843.php They hardly give a mention to the Wolves inspired play and it was all a result of the Warriors lousy play. Is it in Sports journalism 101 that when your team loses the reporting is that they played bad and it has nothing to do with the opposition? Alternatively with a win your team is chocked full of heroes and it has little to do with the other guys.

      • jon

        in college we watched the US vs. Canada in the olympics (US lost as I recall), we were close enough to the border to get CBC, so across two TV’s we had CBC and NBC playing…

        CBC announcers said something like “The Canadian team has basically won the game at this point.” with in 30 seconds NBC announcers said “The US still has a chance to pull out a win.”

        all about perspective.

      • Dan

        The Warriors are a much, much better team than the Timberwolves. For them to blow a 17-point 3rd quarter load at home really IS more about how they played than how the Wolves played.

        And generally local papers do focus on the local team, not just which games to cover but how to cover them. Try reading a Chicago outlet sometime.

  • I’m still all a-flutter after last night.

  • Dan

    A “likely” guarantee isn’t much of a guarantee 🙂 Lavine has improved a lot this season, but I don’t think Mitchell is safe. I think that does put too much stock on one game (4-6 last 10 games, including a couple of stinkers). It’d be like when players get drafted too high because they had a good NCAA tournament.
    The Wolves have played better as the season has progressed, but since they’re such a young team, that’s the minimum qualification to continue. The question is whether he’s gotten the most out of them, or more accurately whether he’s the right guy to get the most out of them going forward.

    Dieng and ‘Bazz for Trey Burke trade looking better and better as time goes on… I love the aggression ‘Bazz plays with.