Timberwolves lose to the Suns 128-122; rotation starting to take shape
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Stop me if you've heard this one before.
The 2010-11 Minnesota Timberwolves had opportunities to close out a game in the fourth quarter but a combination of bad shot selection, turnovers and allowing the other team wide open shots caused them to lose another frustrating game
Oh, you have? Well that is exactly what happened again in Wednesday's 128-122 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
The Wolves (6-20) were in the game throughout the fourth quarter but allowed the Suns (12-12) to hit six consecutive three pointers and once again lacked any semblance of a calming influence in the offense late in the game.
The Suns shot 15-of-27 from behind the arc and had so many wide-open looks all night that it almost became an embarrassment of riches.
The Wolves did avoid a major bullet though. Kevin Love suffered a left-lower extremity contusion but x-rays after the game came back normal, according to the Wolves PR staff.
On paper this was one of those mismatches that happen throughout an 82-game NBA season.
The Wolves were coming off a back-to-back after last night's 108-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors while the Suns had the last five days off.
Also, the veteran Suns were desperate not to lose a third consecutive home game for the first time in two years and were playing the Wolves—the youngest team in the league.
The Wolves dropped their ninth-consecutive road game and has now dropped 25 of 26 games away from Target Center dating back to last season.
There are clearly many questions facing this Wolves team that was supposed to be much improved over last year's squad but has just two more wins than last years version did through 26 games this season.
The return of Webster will provide a huge boost to a Wolve's bench that has been incredibly short with the piles of injuries it has faced.
Rambis said during preseason that he prefers Webster to provide a spark off the bench and that is exactly what he has done through two games. Despite having a 25-minute cap because of his recent return, Webster put up 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting—including 3-4 from downtown—against the Suns.
In two games back, Wesbter has scored 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting while only playing an average of 25 minutes. Webster's minutes will surely be on the rise once the five-year veteran gets his legs back under him.
One player in particular who will benefit from Webster's return is Michael Beasley. Webster has the shooting touch that will take some of the burden to score points of Beasley's shoulders.
Further, Webster will be invaluable coming off while Beasley figures out his issues with foul trouble.
Beasley once again was unavailable in most the second-half against the Suns after picking up his fifth personal with 6:48 left in the third and did not return until the 4:48 mark in the fourth quarter.
With Jonny Flynn returning there was question about what would happen with the point guard rotation and after two games it has become obvious: Sebastian Telfiar is the odd man out.
Telfiar did not play for a second consecutive game and it appears Rambis is sticking by his word of wanting just a two point guard rotation.
Telfair's contract expires at the end of the season and there could be team's interested in acquiring the 25-year-old via trade.
With Flynn missing the entire season up until Tuesday night and Ridnour missing a 10-day stretch earlier this season, Telfiar has put enough on tape this season—averaging 7.7 points, 3.6 assists and 2.0 turnovers—that a team needing a backup point guard may bite, especially as injuries set in later in the season.
Flynn's return also means it's likely curtains for Sundiata Gaines, who has only appeared in seven games after being signed in a pinch November. It was obvious the Wolves didn't have long-term plans for Gaines as he doesn't even have his own locker in the Wolves dressing room, just a chair in the corner.
The rotation will continue to flesh out and become clearer for the Wolves as they continue their brutally long road trip.
Next up, it is the Portland Trailblazers and Denver Nuggets on Friday and Saturday before they mercifully wrap up their longest road trip of the season Monday at the Los Angeles Clippers.