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Wolves’ Tom Thibodeau, Jimmy Butler on keys to Game 5 win

The Minnesota Timberwolves had to pass through the eye of the needle just to earn a slot in these playoffs. Unfortunately for Minnesota, it looks like their stay in the postseason is going to be way shorter than what most people believed when the team assembled a shiny new roster prior to the 2017-18 campaign. As of this writing, the Timberwolves are down 3-1 in their first-round series with the Houston Rockets, who are poised to end the matchup in Game 5 of the series Wednesday night at Toyota Center in Houston.

Asked what his team needs to have in order to extend the series beyond Game 5, Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau said that it’s more about the mindset of his players, per Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.

Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau preached to his players – and the media, too – all season and advised them never to look ahead or behind, but always stay in the present.

Only a few teams have come back from a 3-1-hole deficit to win a series, but Thibodeau and his men don’t have any choice but to take a game-by-game approach.

“That’s why you try to build that habit all year,” Thibodeau said. “Not to get ahead of yourself, not to get behind, but to concentrate exactly on what’s in front of you. You can’t allow other people to tell you what you think. It’s what you think and what you believe. That’s how you get through these type of things. You go play-by-play, quarter-by-quarter. Once you realize that, it makes things do-able.

If you’re asking Wolves star Jimmy Butler, he’ll give you the answer that’s much easier said than done against this Rockets team that doesn’t have very many weaknesses.

“Totally different environment, situation,” Wolves All-Star guard Jimmy Butler said after the team’s shootaround today. “We just have to go out and play basketball. Down 3-1, whatever you want to call it, our back against the walls, still if we do what we’re supposed to do – contest their shots, rebound and we score as well, we can win this game.”

It’s a tall order for Minnesota to beat a Rockets team that ended the regular season with a 65-17 record three times in a row but expect the Timberwolves to let it all out this Wednesday, as they try to stretch their season.