Updated: 02/04/2013 6:33 PM KSTP.com By: Ben Musel
The losing streak is gone. Bad streaks usually disappear when you clean the glass properly, which is what the Timberwolves finally did on Saturday night vs. New Orleans. Going into the season the team looked to be in a good position rebounding-wise. It was going to be one of their calling cards. Then Kevin Love’s pesky hand happened. Then everybody else on the roster had their own injury happen and the team’s rebounding prowess took a major hit.
At the moment, the team is averaging 43.8 total rebounds per contest, which is good for sixth in the league. But doesn’t tell the whole story. In both November and December, the team surpassed the 43 rebound mark 10 times. In January, the team only got 43 or more rebounds five times.
Over the last 10 games, the team only collected 39.1 rebounds per contest, which put them 25th in league rankings. Nikola Pekovic only appeared in half of those games and was most likely the main reason the team had difficulty controlling the glass, but everybody knows the old adage about excuses.
The main issue is that the team is only averaging 95.2 points per game (21stin the league) and only shooting 43.5% (Tied for 24th). from the field. A team shooting that poorly needs all of the extra possessions it can muster. Offensive rebounding is especially important and Pekovic happens to be one of the best offensive rebounders in the league this year.
Had Pekovic been able to play, the team very well could have been 4-6 in their last 10 games as opposed to 2-8. I didn’t get a chance to see the one point loss to the Bobcats, but I did watch the team struggle mightily on the boards in the final two and a half minutes against the Clippers. Both games were very winnable. All the team needed was a couple second chance points.
Those second chance points will be crucial if the team wants to stay in the playoff hunt past the All-Star break.