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Timberwolves problem is not any sort of Minnesota sports curse

Michael Rand, Star Tribune on

Published in Basketball

I have three kids under the age of 10, including two grade school-aged daughters, which means Taylor Swift music is unavoidable in our house (not that I mind).

When her song, "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things" comes on, I admit that sometimes my thoughts turn to Minnesota sports and how that Swift offering can be interpreted as an unofficial anthem for our teams.

Expecting the worst and believing in curses feel like parts of the core identity of a lot of Minnesota fans. At times — particularly when Vikings kickers are missing wide left in critical playoff moments — it's hard to blame them.

But some of those fans seem to be treating these last two Timberwolves playoff losses, which followed a roll of six consecutive wins to start the postseason, as more evidence that we are cursed and will never have nice things.

Sorry, folks, but that's not what's happening right now — as Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.

Here, instead, is how we should be framing this moment in time:

— The Wolves earned deserved praise for a opening-round sweep of Phoenix that surprised many of us given that the Suns were 3-0 against Minnesota during the regular season. What looked to be a bad matchup was instead a good one as defense tightened and interior play became a factor in the postseason.

 

— Minnesota opened the conference semifinals with a win over Denver in a game in which the Nuggets were at least OK. Then they smothered the Nuggets in Game 2 — another road win — and the narrative shifted too far in the Wolves' favor. Local and national voices said the series was over, that the Wolves would sweep. This was absurdly premature and completely disrespectful to a defending NBA champion with a three-time MVP on its roster.

— The two games in Minnesota were the two games in Denver but in reverse, giving this series a real mirror feeling after four games. Just as Denver had no answer for Minnesota in a Game 2 blowout, Minnesota had none for the Nuggets in Game 3. And in Game 4, with Denver having rediscovered its edge, the Nuggets were simply the better team even though the Wolves played at least a decent game that they could have won.

— The series is about where you would expect it to be after four games, even if it has arrived there in an unusual fashion with the road team winning every game. The Wolves could very well win the series. They could very well lose.

But if the latter happens, don't blame a curse. Just know that it wasn't the Wolves' time yet — and that contrary to what Taylor Swift might sing, we can have nice things.

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