By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)The Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Chicago Bulls Saturday night after losing to the Houston Rockets Friday.

It is a good time for WCCO’s Mike Max to sit down with Head Coach Tom Thibodeau as they go down the stretch.


Mike Max: It’s down to the final stretch now, 21 games left. I guess the All-Star break, it comes late in the year, but what is it that you see as you go down the final 21?

Tom Thibodeau: We have to come home, and we have a back-to-back with Chicago, then we turn around, we go back on the road and we have Sacramento, Portland and Utah in a back-to-back, so it comes back right away, and we’re going to have to be ready to go that first week. But then I believe there’s 47 days left to the season, we have 21 games, and it’s unusual. We get hit right away, but then there’s a number of breaks. We have one five-day break, we have four two-day breaks and I believe two three-day breaks.

tom thibodeau 1 On 1 With Wolves Coach Tom Thibodeau

Tom Thibodeau (credit: CBS)

MM: You’ve been down these roads before. Is there a magic sauce, a secret sauce to playing your best basketball at the end?

TT: You can’t look too far ahead. You have to concentrate on exactly what’s in front of you. The best part of it is you’re going head-to-head with a lot of the teams that you’re battling it out with positioning, so every night you’re going to be tested.

MM: Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler both go to the All-Star Game, nationally they get the recognition. You knew they were good players for a long time. What does that do for them, for the team, for the league?

TT: The winning part is the most important thing, and I think when you win you get recognized, and I mentioned that to Karl last year. He was disappointed, he was having a great season statistically, but we weren’t winning, and the difference is when you win, people recognize that.

MM: You have talked a lot about you’re satisfied with the offense on this team, you’d like to see the defense [perform] a little bit better … Is there a way that you can take that next step defensively to get to where you want to be?

TT: That’s what we have to work towards. You know, you have to be strong on both sides of the ball. When you study that teams that have success and are able to … have success in the playoffs, they’re strong on both sides of the ball. So that’s what we’re working towards.


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