Tom Powers: Shaky Timberwolves still haven't learned how to close out games

The problem is that no one knows when the tremors will set it. We can narrow it down to sometime in the second half. Full Story
The Hard Truth

Northome, MN

#1 Jan 25, 2011
I made the first post of the year on these boards way back when, and I said, "I like this team." Nothing has changed except for one thing: I am starting to have serious, serious doubts about Rambis' ability. I said, also from the outset, that trying to imitate his "big brother" by being a Zen Master wannabee was a suspect stance; I noted that Phil Jackson, when given a chance to endorse Rambis, made tepid remarks about his ability; and I questioned his clumsy psychology with Love.

Please note that no one on the team has his back. He is starting to be addressed by the players in the same way the Vikings addressed Childress: from a distance, and, as if the coaches are a separate entity from the players.

I think you blew it on this one, Mr. Kahn. I really think you blew it.
Matt45

Saint Paul, MN

#2 Jan 25, 2011
I am impressed that the headline had nothing about Love's double-double. It should never be mentioned in another terrible, effortless, defenseless, overcoached effort!
3pointDunk

Saint Paul, MN

#3 Jan 25, 2011
Matt45 wrote:
I am impressed that the headline had nothing about Love's double-double. It should never be mentioned in another terrible, effortless, defenseless, overcoached effort!
Exactly! Remember when triple-doubles got all the press and double-doubles were no big deal. Apparently, the NBA has become watered-down to the point where double-doubles are a big deal now.

Speaking of the headline, if the Wolves want to "close out games", they might want to start playing better defense.
Mike

Denver, CO

#4 Jan 25, 2011
Is it that the Wolves can't close out games or that almost every team they play is more talented at every position save pf. So they don't play hard until the fourth quarter, then everyone says the Wolves can't clsoe out games. Whaterver?
Gardy

Eden Prairie, MN

#5 Jan 25, 2011
Maybe Kahn's plan was to hire a terrible coach with a calm demeanor and enough confidence to keep the fans from revolting. Then after the Wolves end-up with a large pile of ping pong balls for one last lottery before Rubio arrives and before giving-up their 2012 pick to the Clippers, he'll fire Rambis and bring-in a real head coach (or promote Laimbeer). Assuming Rambis hasn't stunted the growth of the entire team with his poor game management, it's a crazy plan, but it's not THAT bad of a plan. Except that Kahn forgot that the lottery is rigged.
JeR

Portland, OR

#6 Jan 25, 2011
What the Wolves need right now is an assistant who specializes in defense. If the Trailblazers ever part ways with Nate McMillian, the Wolves should swoop in and sign him ASAP. Love would be the first one to tell Rambis and Kahn that.
From a view on the outside, Rambis is the right coach in the long run. The problem is a lack of age on the court. There is a good core here, but they need to learn how to win. Very few games have they been blown out.
DD Austin

Brandon, MS

#7 Jan 25, 2011
Still don't know how to close out games? Are you sure? Wow! We would never have guessed that! I'm impressed! What creativity! THANKS for shedding light on this to us! ;-) Funny stuff!! Are you crossing over into comedy now?
Mondak

Beaumont, CA

#8 Jan 25, 2011
Actually there was little defense from either side from the very start of the game. They're going to have to go man-to-man-prevent except where absolutely necessary. There's no excuse for losing your man. Stop ball-watching, for one thing. Whenever the Wolves become spectators they get burned by their man.

Yes, the Wolves get jitters every time a team gets animated and makes a run against them. The best thing in that situation is to keep the ball with the guys that have handles and run the clock down to six seconds on every shot in order to slow the other guys down. I saw several times in the third where the T'Wolves rushed shots, or shot when there were no Wolves jerseys underneath.

Rambis was a little late getting his stars back in the game, but he really showed detractors that he is getting much better at managing a game in the waning minutes. It was almost masterful how his coaching got the Wolves back into the game. He didn't stop coaching. I liked that a lot. There's hope
for him, unless the Front Office gets jitters, like the team, and pulls the rug too soon. Don't get too critical; it doesn't help him or the team when they need focus. Stay the course. Big changes won't help this team. A pick-up before the deadline might, if it's one we need.
Mondak

Beaumont, CA

#9 Jan 25, 2011
Gardy wrote:
Maybe Kahn's plan was to hire a terrible coach with a calm demeanor and enough confidence to keep the fans from revolting. Then after the Wolves end-up with a large pile of ping pong balls for one last lottery before Rubio arrives and before giving-up their 2012 pick to the Clippers, he'll fire Rambis and bring-in a real head coach (or promote Laimbeer). Assuming Rambis hasn't stunted the growth of the entire team with his poor game management, it's a crazy plan, but it's not THAT bad of a plan. Except that Kahn forgot that the lottery is rigged.
Why Laimbeer? If he had any ideas do you think he's keeping them to himself? He doesn't look very bright to me. He's only aboard to help big men. If he's been working with Darko a lot, kudos to him for that.
AntiMelting

Brainerd, MN

#10 Jan 25, 2011
Only thing missing is a rap concert.
Mondak

Beaumont, CA

#11 Jan 25, 2011
Mike wrote:
Is it that the Wolves can't close out games or that almost every team they play is more talented at every position save pf. So they don't play hard until the fourth quarter, then everyone says the Wolves can't clsoe out games. Whatever?
A little bit of both. Except for Kevin Love, just about every man on this squad has never started for a team. The vets have all been bench warmers wherever they have played, and have bounced around the league like ping pong balls. The young guys are still getting used to playing every other day. It's a lot different than college where you play 25 games and that's it. None of these guys has been the 'calming influence' or the 'go-to' guy in crunch time, ever. It's a new experience for all of them. Rambis has made some flubs, but I'm confident that he's learning as well. The way he managed the last 3 minutes of the Houston game shows me now that he 'gets it'. I'm just worried that, because of lack of wins, they're going to sack him prematurely. That won't help this team's chances at all. Lynum's coming aboard as a consultant. Let's see what comes of that. Sometimes you need eyes outside of the fishbowl. They still have a weak schedule the rest of the way out and have a chance at 20-25 wins. Lack of focus is also a problem for this team. Why is it that they can hang with the best in the league, and then get hammered by weaker teams? they relax when they have no right to, that's why. Focus.
uh huh

Saint Paul, MN

#12 Jan 25, 2011
I still think coaching is part of the problem. Too many flat starts to games or after halftime. If you have to teach these guys to stop admiring their shot and get back on "D" then that is what you do.

We can tip-toe around two facts ad nauseum.

1.) They desperately need an NBA-caliber point guard. Ridnour would make a nice backup.
2.) This organization has a history of poor decisions from the top down, and likely will NEVER be able to draw a high-talent free agent here. They need some experience and an infusion of go-to talent, and they will not get it with Taylor at the helm. Stars avoid MN like the plague for a reason. They continue to fall for sales pitches of agents.

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