Without Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins, Wolves obliterated by Bucks in preseason finale
MILWAUKEE In his memorable appearance at practice Wednesday, Jimmy Butler reportedly told General Manager Scott Layden that the Timberwolves needed him, a line Butler packaged with an expletive.
It was hard to argue with that sentiment on Friday.
The Wolves, without Butler, looked listless in a 143-121 preseason loss to the Bucks in which they trailed by 29 at halftime.
The Wolves were also without Andrew Wiggins as he was awaiting the birth of his first child in Minnesota, but Wiggins presence might not have mattered much, especially with the way Milwaukee was shooting and the Wolves were defending.
All camp the Wolves have said they would be able to put the distraction of Butler behind them, but its hard not to look at their performance and think its having some kind of influence over the team.
The Bucks converted 8 of 10 3-pointers in the first quarter and were 25 of 48 for the game. The Wolves were already last in defensive efficiency entering Friday, a figure that ballooned even more Friday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo lived up to his nickname of the Greek Freak with several drives and ducks that sent the crowd at the Bucks new Fiserv Forum into a frenzy.
He finished 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists and has his triple-double secured with more than five minutes remaining in the third quarter .
Derrick Rose was back in the starting lineup after resting for Sundays matchup against the Bucks in Ames, Iowa and Rose kept up his ball dominant ways, shooting 2 for 11 in the first half, 4 of 15 for the game. Jeff Teague took 15 shots, all in the first half, hitting five as the Wolves allowed 43 in the first quarter and 41 in the second.
Taj Gibson was about the only Wolves player immune from a sluggish night as he compiled 21 points and seven rebounds to lead the Wolves in both categories.
With Wiggins out of the starting lineup, rookie Josh Okogie got made his second consecutive start after taking Roses spot in the lineup Sunday. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
The Wolves enter the regular season having lost four of their five preseason games and havent played particularly well in any of them outside of the first game, a victory against Golden State. The Wolves defensive woes were a problem when Butler wasnt in the lineup and despite having the preseason to adjust to playing without him, havent been able to find consistency on that end of the floor the last few weeks.