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Frustration mounts as injuries push the Timberwolves to 7th place

Andrew Wiggins

The Minnesota Timberwolves faced another rude awakening, this time down another starter with Jeff Teague out of Sunday’s tilt against the Utah Jazz with a knee injury. The Wolves were throttled 121-97, bumping them down to seventh place in the West, as the Jazz leapfrogged a half game above them with the win.

“You know, I don’t want to use that as an excuse, when you’re down people,” coach Tom Thibodeau said, according to Jerry Zgoda of The Minnesota Star Tribune. “I’m disappointed with tonight, but they’ve fought hard with Jimmy [Butler] being out. When you’re down a player like that, your only chance is with great intensity. So when you lose another guy, you can’t go in and think, ‘OK, this is good, like we’re good.’ No, you got to compete on every play.”

“Until we understand that, there will be tough nights.”

The Wolves are merely 5-5 in their last 10 games, struggling to regain their footing without their All-Star core intact.

The Jazz had faced injuries of their own, but are back healthy at the right time, making an incredible playoff push that could set them out to be one of the dark-horses in the West, but the Timberwolves have been far from that same trail.

“When we took the hit with Jimmy, I knew it’d be a long, hard fight,” Thibodeau said. “You can’t exhale. You can’t feel good. You’ve got to keep swinging. That’s the only way this is going to get done. For the most part, these guys have done it. The schedule we had when Jimmy went down, these guys have put up a good fight and they’re still fighting.”

“I’m disappointed with today’s performance. We have to regroup and get ready for the next one.”

Minnesota has four games remaining in the season, including two against the Denver Nuggets, who are anxious to leap into the playoff picture. Winning every game has become a necessity down the stretch, with fourth through eighth place separated by merely a two-game difference.