Web Editorial Associate
Following the Wolves’ win against the Grizzlies, Minnesota players sounded off on a variety of topics including their play against Memphis, scoreboard watching, and the Derrick Rose’s value to the team. We also got an update from Taj Gibson:
Gibson left Monday night’s game with a neck injury sustained against the Lakers when Julius Randle fell on him. He went through chiropractic treatment during the day Monday, but felt too much pain in his neck and shoulder to continue to play. He’s officially listed as questionable.
“I’ll be alright,” he said. “We’ll just have to reevaluate it tomorrow but it’s tough when you can’t even turn your neck from right to left, can’t look around.”
While the Wolves could have clinched a playoff spot last night if Portland had beaten Denver, the Wolves locker room was far more focused on what they could do for themselves than what they needed from other teams.
“We have control of our own destiny,” said Jimmy Butler. “We have a game on Wednesday, no matter what we go in there to win.
“I don’t care. I just want to clinch it. Tonight, Wednesday, I just want to get it done,” said coach Tom Thibodeau. “We talked about finishing, that’s been our thing, whether it’s practice, a film session, a close-out, a drive, a quarter, just finish.”
While the Wolves are obviously happy to come away with the win, there were times in Monday’s game where the team did not look it’s best—a fact that was not lost on Butler.
“I don’t care what the reason may be. We need to play a full 48-minute game, we’ve yet to do that this year,” he said. “I want guys to come out, defend, know the coverages that we’re in, and even if you mess up, just play hard and get in the way and something good will happen, I promise. But right now, we have to play harder than anyone on every possession for what’s at stake. I think we lose control of that sometimes, and it’s really frustrating to some guys around this locker room. We got to play harder. Every single possession, from the jump to the finish.”
One player the Wolves don’t have to worry about playing hard is late-season addition Derrick Rose.
Rose brought the Wolves an incredible boost of energy and toughness off the bench in Monday’s game. He finished with 13 points on 50-percent shooting to go along with three assists. Though he didn’t register an official steal, his hustle and awareness on the defensive end led to several huge Wolves stops.
“He’s always working on his game. You’ve seen what he’s done in this league and he can still do that at any point in time,” said Butler. “The craziest thing is he’s so unselfish. Whatever you ask him to do—guard this guy, guard that guy, get a stop, get a bucket, get somebody else a bucket, he’s capable of doing it.
Rose’s play also earned praise from the usually stoic Thibodeau, who recognized the work Rose has put in to stay ready and seize the opportunity with the Wolves.
“He’s got great instincts,” said Thibodeau. “He’s super talented. That’s why we picked him up, and he’s played very well for us.”
His coach’s praise didn’t go unnoticed by Rose.
“It’s crazy to hear him say that,” he said. “This is the same guy I didn’t get a compliment [from] after I won MVP my third year. To hear him say that, it means a lot, it’s something I’m going to cherish because I know what type of person he is, what type of individual he is, he’s a tough guy. I’m thankful and happy to be here.”