NBA Playoffs Continue to Slip Away Timberwolves Grasp

Kaleb SmithCorrespondent IApril 5, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 16:  Ramon Sessions #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against a shot by Jose Barea #11 of the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on March 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers won 97-92.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Mark down another tally in the loss column for the Minnesota Timberwolves.  Tonight against the Golden State Warriors, the T’wolves dropped another close game that had been in reach the entire time.  With several leads only to be lost down the stretch, Minnesota fell 97-94.

Kevin Love produced another MVP type of game to keep afloat the Timberwolves as they fight for a playoff position.  Love finished the game against the Warriors with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Both J.J. Barea and Wes Johnson chipped in with 12 points each.  The big stud came off the bench in the form of Wayne Ellington, as he added 17 points and seven rebounds.  Unfortunately the Wolves were unable to punch it through at the end when needed.

Minnesota continues to struggle as crunch time is upon them and pushes them five games from the final playoff spot.  Currently Houston sits ahead of Denver in the seventh seed despite having the exact same record. The likes of Utah, Phoenix and Portland lie ahead of Minnesota in the standings and strive to beat out others for a chance to compete in the postseason.

The major problem the Timberwolves are encountering revolves around a thin lineup.  Michael Beasley continues to struggle with returning to the court, but the biggest blow was the torn ACL obtained by Ricky Rubio.  J.J. Barea and Nikola Pekovic have been slow due to injuries yet are in the line to act.  The latest blow was dealt as Luke Ridnour injured his ankle Monday night. 

The Timberwolves can step up and turn around home stretch of the season and push harder to playoffs with a few key aspects.  More consistency from J.J. Barea, Derrick Williams and Wayne Ellington is an absolute must.  Ellington has proven his capability to help stretch the defense with his shooting, and being consistent from the outside is a must. 

With Beasley and Ridnour out, J.J. Barea and Derrick Williams must solidify themselves as consistent scorers.  Barea has shown the ability to produce in past, but he is the main point guard to take the pressure for the offense.  Despite being a rookie, Williams is capable of taking the weight off of Kevin Love and can run a sharp mid-range game.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are stricken with injuries, but with a few minor adjustments the recent close losses can be turned back into wins.