There are franchises for which it simply seems that there is only pain. Forever. The Timberwolves opened the season 2-0, grinning from ear to ear and uweeks later are 3-10. Plunged in miserable darkness and with the protocols of the pandemic hitting: they continue without Karl-Anthony Towns, who personally announced his positive, and without the two Spaniards, Ricky Rubio and Juancho Hernangómez.
And they continue without wisdom, without direction, even without luck. The Magic came in with six losses on them, another good start to the season shattered by injuries. They got 10 points in a second quarter in which they made a 3/23 shooting and conceded a 24-1 run (30-10 total). They were 20 points behind in a game where scoring was expensive (two of the worst attacks in the NBA did not reach 100 points). And they were trailing by two (96-94) when Aaron Gordon missed a triple and Jarred Vanderbilt secured the rebound and was sent to the personnel line with 4.6 seconds to go. And the Magic won, and the Wolves lost. They did not even tie to fall into extra time. No: they lost. The question, watching the end of the game, was simply how. How the hell?
But there are franchises for which everything is pain. Vanderbilt missed both free throws, to the rookie (No. 15 in the draft) Cole Anthony accidentally fell the rebound, crossed the court and from the left side he threw an impossible triple, without stability and going off the court. A triple that came in clean, on the horn. Because no matter how bad things go for the Magic, there are always more miserable franchises. Forever. And one is, it seems hopeless, Minnesota Timberwolves.
D’Angelo Russell (19 points, 6 assists) put in a touch of talent in that second-quarter break that didn’t follow. Because Malik Beasley got embolized (13 points on 15 shots) and the Wolves have almost nothing else in attack, with little young duo Jarrett Culver (7 points) -Anthony Edwards (8 on 14 shots).
The Magic play with what they have and to what extent they can. With Vucevic as an obvious reference (28 + 8 + 4) and Aaron Gordon trying to play total player (13 + 9 + 7 and 4 caps). The points that Terrence Ross did not put this time (8 in 14 shots) were added by a Fournier who returned and whose wrist was a blessing (24) despite accumulating errors. Clifford’s team needed their talented players to the last point. One of them, without a doubt, Cole Anthony, who added 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists beyond the miraculous triple in what for now is a very prominent rookie season. It wasn’t going to be all bad news in Orlando. That privilege remains for others, especially the Minnesota Timberwolves, where it seems that everything, forever, it is pain.