The Timberwolves‘ disappointing season reached a new low Saturday night, and coach Chris Finch indicated some lineup changes may be coming in the new year, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Minnesota dropped its sixth straight game, letting a large lead slip away in the third quarter of a loss to the Pistons, who have the NBA’s worst record.
“Old demons,” Finch said in trying to explain the collapse. “Got outcompeted in the third. Just lifeless and not sure exactly where it comes from.”
Finch also cited a need for “people who want to go out there and try to rebound.” Detroit pounded the Wolves 52-37 on the boards and held a 9-0 lead in second-chance points. Finch also indicated that the team’s struggles may be mental as well as physical.
“Tonight was the first time I saw them frustrated with each other through a lot of different ins and outs of the lineup, tough losses on the road,” Finch said. “But tonight I think it manifested itself in a different way. A lot of frustration with guys not making the right and simple play.”
There’s more on the Wolves:
- Saturday’s loss prompted a players-only meeting, tweets Dane Moore of Blue Wire Pods. The locker room didn’t open to the media until 45 minutes after the game as the players tried to sort through the many issues surrounding the team. “I feel like every team does at some point,” Naz Reid said of the meeting (Twitter link). “So moving forward, I feel like we could be heading in the right direction. I feel like we had the right conversation.”
- Finch’s job appears to be safe despite the losing streak, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. He points out that new president of basketball operations Tim Connelly emphasized continuity while building the Nuggets into a contender and doesn’t seem inclined to rush into a coaching change. Connelly recently told Krawczynski that Finch, who received a multi-year contract extension in April, is “one of the best coaches I’ve been around.”
- D’Angelo Russell‘s poor transition defense and questionable shot selection contributed to the second half collapse, Krawczynski adds. Russell was just 1-for-6 in the fourth quarter and he launched an ill-advised pull-up three-pointer with 2:15 left that cut short a comeback attempt. Russell will be a free agent this summer, but any trade market for him has been limited because of his $31.4MM salary.