The Timberwolves have outscored their opponents in 10 of 16 quarters this season but have just one win to show for it. Minnesota could be 4-0 if not for some major third-quarter meltdowns.
The Wolves led Memphis in the season opener by eight points at the half and trailed by two going into the fourth quarter. They jumped out to a 11-point halftime lead against Sacramento before getting outscored by 19 in the third. Most recently, the Wolves were leading the Nuggets by six at the half before getting outscored by 19 again in the third.
The lone exception was the home opener against a short-handed Grizzlies team and the result was a 36-point blowout.
"Yeah, that third quarter is haunting us right now," Andrew Wiggins said Thursday, according to radio announcer Alan Horton.
The issue is clear when you look at Minnesota's quarter-by-quarter scoring breakdown (Wolves number is on the left).
- 1st quarter: 132-95
- 2nd quarter: 115-100
- 3rd quarter: 77-113
- 4th quarter: 92-82
Based on net rating – an estimation of point differential per 100 possessions – the Wolves are completely dominating opponents in the first, second and fourth quarters, while ranking 29th out of 30 in the third quarter, according to NBA writer Zach Harper.
Overall, Minnesota's net rating ranks eighth in the NBA. Every other sub-.500 team is ranked 18th or lower.
“We gave up 30 in the second and 33 in the third and then you make a mad rush at the end to try and have a shot at it. It’s not the way to go," Wolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said Thursday after the Denver loss.
Up next, the Wolves take on Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder (3-1) at 5 p.m. Saturday.