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KAT can't stay out of foul trouble, two disappointing losses to Utah, a buzzer beater in Memphis, and the grim state of the Wolves playoff chances in this edition. As usual, Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland interviews Wolves analyst Beartrap McManus.
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What needs to come together for the Wolves to make the playoffs?
Devastating injuries to Donovan Mitchell, LaMarcus Aldridge, and De’Aaron Fox? Medical science-defying recoveries from RoCo and TyJo (we don’t need to start calling him TyJo, that wasn’t a good idea)? New legs for Derrick Rose?
I’m really not sure. With their current roster looking more or less set for the season, and Jones and Covington’s return timetables still up the in the air, I’m not really liking their playoff chances at the moment. The West is just too deep (especially if the Lakers end up getting Anthony Davis) and they’ll need to establish a level of consistency they haven’t shown yet to have a shot at the playoffs. But as we all know, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!
Is KAT’s foul trouble concerning to you? Do you think he lets his emotions get the best of him too much?
It’s starting to become deeply troubling. With all their injuries, the Wolves absolutely need him to play well in order to win. He’s still put up impressive numbers in games where he’s been in foul trouble, his current foul rate is unacceptable.
I’m not sure if it’s his emotions as much as it is his mindset, though he could stand to do a lot less reacting to calls by the officials. His response to adversity has always been to do more. He’s got a crazy motor and work ethic, and his renewed sense of defensive purpose has made him overzealous, which could be the root of the foul issue. But I’ve never met the dude, so who knows?
The Grizzlies usually have KAT’s number, but he got hit a buzzer-beater to seal a 99-97 victory on Wednesday. Your thoughts on his performance and the game in general?
KAT’s always struggled against larger skilled bigs like Marc Gasol (see also Anthony Davis and Joel Embiid), but he played well in his limited minutes in the second half after a scoreless first spent mostly on the bench in foul jail.
The Wolves got off to a decent start, riding three different four power forward lineups at the end of the first/start of the second quarter to a 17 point lead before allowing a very-not-good Grizzlies team to tie it up at halftime (mostly on the backs of their only good players, Gasol and Mike Conley). The Wolves barely got by, mostly due to good performances from their bench, notably Gorgui Dieng and Anthony Tolliver (aka Tony 3 aka Tony T).
It was a win, but an uninspiring one outside of that final play.
Did the two losses to the Jazz concern you at all?
Definitely. The near-comeback in the game in Utah was inspiring, but it doesn’t erase the pitiful first half play that necessitated it.
The second game featured one of their most miserable defensive performances of the season. The Jazz lit them up with threes. I’m not even sure they were trying to guard. It’s a shame, because they wasted a great 35 point offensive performance from Wiggins.
Beartrap McManus is an NBA and Timberwolves expert. He has been a life coach for Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland since before time, a consultant for Rambling On since its founding, and Timberwolves analyst beginning in Series Five. He resides with his wife and twelve kids in Hurley, Wisconsin, where his wife owns a popular supper club.