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Last Shots: On just how far away the Wolves are, Okogie’s rookie wall, and Golden State’s joy



MINNEAPOLIS – Nineteen quick thoughts for the 19 bench points scored by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 117-107 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night at Target Center.

1. The Wolves didn’t have an answer for Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night. In fairness to them, not many teams do.

2. Curry exploded for 22 of his 36 points in the third quarter. He’s the biggest part of the NBA’s most well-oiled machine. A machine that’s won three of the last four NBA titles, and showed the Wolves just how far away they are from being competitive in an environment that mattered.

3. The Warriors are on their way to another run towards the NBA Finals, and the Wolves became another step closer to being formally eliminated from playoff contention. The Warriors are the blueprint, and the Wolves, despite seeing it up close on Tuesday night, can’t even fathom reading it.

4. The way the roster is constructed the Wolves don’t have a chance. As long as they’re paying Andrew Wiggins the whopping $25 million per season, they’re not going to reach the heights that they want to get to.

5. Karl-Anthony Towns is a nice piece, one that 20 or so teams would love to build around, but the remainder of the Wolves roster is one that no one else in the NBA would want.

6. That’s where the issue is. The supporting cast is both subpar and expensive. That’s a recipe for disaster and that’s where the Wolves are at, and will be for the foreseeable future.

7. With 11 games remaining in this season, it makes sense to call the season a lost one, but it may not be that. It could be looked at as the season when it was realized that what the Wolves have just isn’t going to work as presently constructed. Whether it’s blamed on health or unlucky breaks, it’s the reality of the situation. With each game like this, it becomes harder to envision brighter days ahead, and even more difficult to picture a day when the Warriors are a championship contender.

8. Towns is a start, but he’s not enough to overcome the rest of the situation.

9. Aside from the usual bright spot that Towns is, there were few others on Tuesday. The most notable thing to come out of not only the game against the Warriors, but also the previous one in Houston was that Josh Okogie may be breaking past the rookie wall.

10. Okogie finished the night with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 3-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc. He had gone eight games without reaching double-figures in scoring – which doesn’t tell the whole story with him – but has shot the ball well in the past two games. The game seems to be slowing back down for him.

11. “I think I’m still going the speed that I like to without going as fast where I’m out of control. I think I’m finally finding the speed,” Okogie said. “Obviously knowing me I’m still going to be going too fast sometimes, but I think now I’m finding the speed where I’m comfortable where I’m able to make decisions effectively.”

12. This version of Okogie is not only a positive on a random Tuesday night in March, but it’s also a positive for the Wolves’ future – as bleak as it may be. Okogie looks like a piece that will be able to contribute to legitimate success. There’s just not enough of that in Minnesota right now.

13. The toughest thing about dealing with the Warriors is the fact that they’ve got so many different ways to attack a team. Curry is the greatest shooter to ever play the game, Klay Thompson is right behind him in that category, and Kevin Durant is one of the best pure scorers the game has ever seen. When they all have it going on, they’re nearly unbeatable.

14. Tuesday night they took turns. Golden State had four different players that scored 10 points or more in a single quarter of the game. Thompson had 15 points in the first, Jonas Jerebko had 14 in the second, Curry went off for 22 in the third, and Durant had 10 to help close out the game in the fourth.

15. “It was said before the game, the way they come at you in waves,” interim coach Ryan Saunders said. “They’ve got three of the best scorers in the world on their team and we saw that tonight. Obviously, credit goes to them, the way they play and the way they move, they way they move the ball and the way that they’re unselfish.”

16. That’s what makes their blueprint more impressive. When it’s rolling there’s no stopping it. The ball-sharing that the Warriors flaunt is remarkable. Tuesday night was the 30th game of the season for Golden State that has featured 30 or more assists. The Wolves have six such games.

17. The Warriors – for the most part – have played with an unmistakable joy throughout their run. It’s something that’s noticeable both from close up and afar. It’s something that separates them from the rest. That type of joy isn’t found on most NBA benches during games, and certainly not Minnesota’s.

18. This version of the Wolves was never going to contend for a championship, and Tuesday night was a close up view at just how far Minnesota has to go.

19. The Wolves return to action on Thursday night in Charlotte against the Hornets.





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