A disastrous week for the Timberwolves culminated with Sunday’s loss to the tanking Trail Blazers, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Minnesota dropped its third straight game despite facing a Portland team that was missing nearly all of its regular rotation players, leaving the Wolves likely headed to the play-in tournament if they reach the postseason at all.
The most concerning thing about the game was the lack of involvement from Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with eight points and took just three shots from the field. The Timberwolves have been focused on getting Towns more comfortable in the offense after missing 52 games with a calf injury, but he appeared as disjointed as he was early in the season when he was first learning how to play alongside Rudy Gobert. Krawczynski notes that Minnesota ranks 27th in offensive efficiency since Towns returned two weeks ago.
“We talked a lot about KAT trying to fit into the flow of the offense, and I think he was a bit too passive tonight,” coach Chris Finch said. “So we needed him to still stay aggressive. I thought in his second shift when he went out there, he drew a lot of fouls, but he wasn’t aggressive throughout the rest of the opportunities.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Twenty years after trying to join the Jazz as a player, Jason Terry is making an impact as an assistant coach, notes Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Terry signed an offer sheet with Utah in 2003, but the Hawks decided to match it. Now he’s part of Will Hardy‘s coaching staff, explaining that he loves being around the game. “I’ve done a variety of things,” Terry said. “But I get the most joy and excitement out of being on the front lines, being in the fire with the guys — film sessions, training, and then in-game, just trying to manage the game and put them in a position to be successful out there on the floor.”
- Nikola Jokic missed his third straight game Sunday with tightness in his right calf, and Mike Singer of The Denver Post suggests that the Nuggets might consider sitting him out for the rest of the regular season (Twitter link). Denver’s magic number to clinch the top seed in the West is down to one, and it may be more beneficial to make sure Jokic is rested and healthy for the playoffs.
- Now that the Knicks have clinched a playoff spot, the Trail Blazers are assured of getting New York’s first-round pick this summer, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic. The selection that Portland acquired in a February trade was lottery protected.