The Timberwolves are starting to look like serious contenders in the West, winning 10 of their last 11 to move within a half-game of escaping the play-in tournament. Part of the success lies in a pair of new attitudes, from the fiery Patrick Beverley, who was acquired in an offseason trade, to the more relaxed Chris Finch, who is in his first full season as Minnesota’s head coach.
Beverley’s influence was evident in Saturday’s win over the Bucks, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. When Serge Ibaka and Taurean Prince had a brief scuffle early in the game, Beverley ran from across the court to shove Ibaka. George Hill shoved Beverley in return, and although they were both ejected, it set the tone for a Wolves team that refused to back down from the defending champions.
Finch, who was brought in as head coach 13 months ago, has adopted a philosophy he learned from Rick Adelman to avoid trying to control everything that happens. He ‘s being careful not to discourage a young team that’s learning how to assert itself.
“We have a lot of strong personalities, a lot of outgoing guys,” Finch said. “Just try to let them be themselves. They’re young. They’re excitable. They like each other. They root for each other. Don’t want to dampen their spirits too much.”
There’s more from Minnesota:
- Prince has been a steady contributor since the injury to Jaden McDaniels, Krawczynski adds. His willingness to accept a reduced role for much of the season is part of being a team leader. “Two or three years ago, I would’ve said I wanted to be there (with the starting lineup),” Prince said. “Now, I’m just trying to play basketball. There’s been days when I came off the bench and still played 25 or 30 minutes and days I’ve played 15. It’s part of being a pro.”
- Karl-Anthony Towns isn’t just putting up impressive stats, he’s making the difference between winning and losing for the first time since arriving in Minnesota, contends Chip Scoggins of The Star Tribune. “It feels like I’m playing the best basketball of my career and it’s leading to great wins,” Towns said. “The reason why I’m finding myself playing some of the best basketball of my career is because I have some of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”
- Towns, who was listed as questionable for the Milwaukee game with a right forearm contusion, didn’t think he would be able to play when he woke up Saturday, tweets Dane Moore. Towns said he got “chopped” in Monday’s game against the Spurs and has been dealing with pain in the arm all week.