In two losses, lack of ball movement has hindered Wolves offensively
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves' film session Thursday afternoon didn't sound like it was a pleasant experience.
Players had to watch back through the numerous missed opportunities they had in an glaringly disjointed 106-93 loss Wednesday to Golden State. After a 3-0 start, the Wolves have faltered in back to back games, characterized by long stretches of uninspired play.
In losses to Cleveland and Golden State, the Wolves have been caught in a rut offensively, shooting a combined 37 percent from the floor.
Both Adelman and his squad are quick to pinpoint the cause of their offensive inconsistencies. It comes down to a lack of ball movement.
"I don't think we have any selfish players, but we're playing selfish right now," Adelman said after practice Thursday. "It's not so much you don't pass the ball, it's you don't make the right cuts, you don't get to the right spots. We're shortcutting a lot of stuff offensively."
A tendency to try to force a play to happen when the chance is not there got Minnesota in trouble against the Warriors. Possessions went to waste, cut short by one of 19 turnovers or a missed shot off a poor look.
The Wolves were clearly outplayed by Golden State, but that is where their frustrations were rooted. While the Wolves slowly unraveled after a strong 28-26 first quarter, it wasn't until guard Klay Thompson got hot from outside, scoring 19 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, that the Warriors truly were able to put the game out of reach.
The nagging issue for the Wolves is that Golden State, a pick by some to win the Western Conference this season, gave them openings to reclaim the lead. However, they could never fully find the composure needed to do so.
Adelman noted his team looked like it was always in a "frenzy," both on offense and defense. The Wolves' chaotic play led to breakdowns in their standard play set. Several times while watching through the film, Adelman turned to his team to ask: "What is this play? Because I don't recognize it."
"Last night, I can't tell you how many times we broke off plays and went to the wrong spot and to me that's a lack of concentration," Adelman said. "I told them, we were in the first week of training camp in that game, watching the stuff that we did. It's uncalled for. You can get beat, but you don't have to hand it to them. And we just kind of gave into the situation."
Adelman's words may sound harsh, especially with the season only in its second week. But with the margin of error in the Western Conference already slim, the Wolves can't afford to battle with self-inflicted problems for long.
The learning curve the Wolves must still overcome was overshadowed by their rollicking start to the season, marked by impressive victories against Oklahoma City and the New York Knicks. But Minnesota hasn't worked out all its bad habits, a process that will only take place if they can establish a level of consistency.
Center Nikola Pekovic targeted lapses defensively as the Wolves' biggest concern, but he also adamantly preached that the overall concern level around the team should be kept in perspective.
"The defense is what is going to win us games. Yesterday, we didn't show defense like we were playing in the first three games," Pekovic said.
"No one should be frustrated. Everything is going to come and everything is going to be fine ... (Defense is) what should help us more to win games. I know we can score. Everybody can score on this team."