From 12/11/14: Timberwolves 90, Blazers 82
In sharp contrast to Rick Adelman’s consistent, almost robotic management of rotations and lack of proactive strategic innovation over the past three years, Flip Saunders is pushing himself and his team to the edge of what they can do by employing a variety of aggressive tactics. Playing Portland straight up, without gimmicks or employing schematic risks, probably ends in a loss. Whether the confidence to try such things is a result of Flip’s high concentration of power in the organization, gravitas from well over a decade of coaching success, or some combination of both, it’s refreshing and fun as a fan to watch the Wolves on nights where they don’t stand pat and opt for slightly unconventional methods. It’s even nicer when players execute the game plan, and nicest of all when it results in a win.
But because the talent (and health) of the two teams is so drastically different, Minnesota still needed more than a few bounces to go their way in the final minute, despite their solid overall play.