Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  By Phil Ervin  |  Last updated 4/9/14
MINNEAPOLIS -- When data from the Timberwolves' 2013-14 season gets punched into the game program, certain metrics will stick out like a chuckhole on Hennepin Avenue. Twelve losses by four points or fewer. Four wins in 19 tries on the second day of back-to-backs. A near league-worst opponent field-goal percentage of 47. But after Minnesota's 102-87 loss to Chicago on Wednesday night at the Target Center, there's only one numerical truth that need be remembered: 23 times, the Timberwolves (39-39) have been .500. They fizzled out in the second half and now have sported an even record nearly two dozen times. Even with the season's outcome already decided, they continue to exhibit they're neither transcendent, nor horrendous. Just smack-dab in the middle. "We've been around .500," coach Rick Adelman said. "That's kind of been where we are, and that's how we've played. We're hoping that we can win some down the stretch here, maybe inch over it. I don't know." This time, a severe second-half dropoff kept shorthanded Minnesota from achieving its first 40-win season since 2004-05 and allowed Chicago (46-32) to stay in the Eastern Conference's fourth spot with a chance of moving into third before the season ends. The Timberwolves knew weeks ago they'd attain no such merit, extending the league's longest active playoff drought to 10 years. A decade of futility, capped by a campaign of pure mediocrity. Through a half, Minnesota was in prime position to knock off its third fourth-or-better postseason seed in the past week. Led by Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio's 25 combined points, the Timberwolves shot 52.6 percent and led 53-48 at the break. But the fatigue born from a spirited victory over league leader San Antonio the night before got to them in the second half, both players admitted. Chicago went up 71-62 thanks to a 12-2 run capped by Joakim Noah's crossover drive-and-layup against Love and never trailed again. "I felt like we played well in that first half, but they're a very good team," said Love, who hyperextended his elbow in the first quarter but returned shortly after. "They're known for their defense, they have a bunch of good players, and they're well-coached. I think it was definitely a lot of that." Said Rubio: "The second half, we didn't have the energy enough. . . . Maybe we were tired at the end." The Bulls outscored Minnesota 27-17 in each of the final two quarters. After allowing the Timberwolves a bevy of early open looks, the NBA's top defense held them to 33.3 percent shooting after the break. Love scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, and Rubio finished with 15 points and six assists. But the pair missed a combined 22 of 34 attempts. The depleted lineup behind them -- missing Nikola Pekovic (sore right ankle), Kevin Martin (sore right heel), Chase Budinger (sprained right ankle), Shabazz Muhammad (sprained right MCL) and J.J. Barea (back spams, sore neck) -- couldn't muster enough support. Nor could they stop Noah or D.J. Augustin, who came off the bench to hit 4 of 7 3-point attempts and lead all scorers with 21 points. The Bulls went 11-for-21 from 3-point range. Minnesota shot 4-for-17 from distance. "They've got guys that execute really well, and they've got guys who can shoot the ball," Adelman said. "It looked like we ran out of gas in the second half." And so went another deflating defeat following a vindicating victory. Friday, the Timberwolves outlasted two-time defending champion Miami but fell flat the next day at Orlando, also due to fatigue and attrition. The big picture already has been painted. Revamped scoring, an All-Star starter in Love and improved health from last season haven't been enough to push this organization back to respectability. Yet its status as a middle-of-the-road group continues to be solidified. "We're trying to bring it every night," Rubio said, "but it's hard." Follow Phil Ervin on Twitter
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

White Sox's Chris Sale sent home 'due to a clubhouse incident'

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena


Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

Why are Saints holding out on contract talks with Drew Brees?

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker