Timberwolves. 4th Quarters. Agony. Feet.
So, let us ask, if the Wolves were up 10 going into the final innings, yet ended up losing by 7, what the hell happened? The basic answer is, the first 6 minutes of the fourth, they were outscored 19-6
It really was a drama in two parts.
Part the First: Barea'd Where They Fell
Barea ugly turnover out of PnR. Barea misses driving the lane against 3 guys out of PnR. Chase Budinger made 19-footer off a Luc Richard Mbah a Moute wing iso(!). LRMaM gets blocked at the rim by Luke Babbitt(!!) after another wing iso(What tha #*$&?). Barea misses a contested floater out of a PnR.
Barea did have one fastbreak layup mixed in their, but still, the Wolves managed 4 points from the 6 possessions before Kevin Love checked back in from his customary rest at the start of the fourth. Obviously JJ will take a lesser role now that Love is back?
Nope, next possession Barea turnover on a fumble. The Wolves finally get Love involved in the next half-court possession, but he is charged with a turnover. However, and I'm not being spiteful here, it was much more Barea's fault:
On Barea's penultimate possession of the game, he never touches the ball, and the Wolves end up with Love launching a semi-contested three over Davis, and on the last play the Wolves run a desultory PnR ending up with a pretty horrific attempt at a Dirk-step jumper by Kevin Martin.
So to tally that all up, with Barea "running the show" that's 9 half court possessions leading to 3 turnovers, 1 made long two off of a busted play, 2 contested runners by Barea, LRMaM freelancing once and a missed frustration jack from Love, over six minutes of action. Oh yeah, and this.
Of course, simply failing to score wasn't the only reason New Orleans had taken the lead. The old bugaboo of porous late game defense (the Wolves currently rank 21st in the league in 4th Q DRTG) showed up again.
Part the Second: Austin Rivers Overdrive
On the first possession, LRMaM closes too hard to Tyreke Evans on the wing, and does so giving up a middle, strong hand drive to Evans.
On the next possession, multiple breakdwons lead to an Austin Rivers 3.
The Wolves then get lucky as Evans fumbles the ball away on a fastbreak following a Barea turnover, and he decides to match JJ in the ill-advised shots out of a PnR department by hoisting up a long off-balance two.
The next five possessions see the Wolves give up 10 points. First, Brewer and Dante Cunningham rather lazily switch this PnR, allowing Eric Gordon an open jumper when Cunnigham backs off his dribble: