Minnesota missed its first 14 shots of the fourth quarter, before Butler made a 3-pointer midway through the period to end the rally. The Magic got within four in the waning seconds before Teague hit two free throws. “We got to play like we’re down 20 instead of playing like we’re up 20,” Gibson said. “When you try to guard the lead, things tend to happen. When you’re playing like you’ve got nothing to lose and you’re down, you keep playing and running fast, running to offense, trying to get your points, trying to just get things done. When you’re trying to be safe with the lead, you never know.”
The Wolves have lost consecutive games twice this season, resoundingly to Indiana and Detroit on back-to-back nights in the season’s second week and again on consecutive nights this week. “We’ve got to find a rhythm to winning,” Wolves star Jimmy Butler said. “We’ve got to get back to the fundamentals. Everything we talked about, you can’t drop three in a row because then everything starts to go in the wrong direction. But we’ll be OK. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, I’ll tell you that. Go out there and figure it out.”
What’s in front of the Timberwolves is a chance to become the type of team Thibodeau always envisioned, with Butler serving as the steady hand who can take games over late, something Thibodeau was sorely lacking a year ago. “A lot of things have changed since we’ve been here, since this team has been together — for the better,” Butler said. “I think we can continue in this direction because we all expect so much from one another, from the organization”