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The Timberwolves cannot figure out the 3rd quarter

Maybe Thibodeau needs to start preparing better halftime speeches.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ 3-7 record would look a whole lot different if it weren’t for the third quarter. Minnesota ranks second in both first- and second-quarter net rating, a stat that measures a team’s point differential per 100 possessions.

However, the Wolves have completely fallen apart in the third. Minnesota ranks last in the NBA with -33.1 third-quarter net rating. This means that per 100 third-quarter possessions, the Timberwolves are being outscored by more than 33 points.

And that was before the team’s 115-108 loss to the Hornets on Tuesday. The Wolves took a 12-point halftime lead, but Hornets opened the third on a 15-2 run and ended the quarter with a 21-4 surge. The Wolves rallied in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough. Again.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau voiced his frustrations in the postgame press conference.

Andrew Wiggins, the team’s star small forward, has his own theory behind Minnesota’s third-quarter woes. To Wiggins, the team is just getting too comfortable.

“I feel like we get too cool. Like we come out too cool, we see the score, we see we’re up, so we think we have a cushion,” Wiggins said, via Jace Frederick of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “But any good team is going to make that run in the third. We can either make that run and push the lead to 20 and make the game over, or they can make that run.”

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota’s veteran point guard, knows the team’s roster has enough talent. For Rubio, however, the lack of improvement is a major concern.

“I’ve been here five years, and this is my sixth, and this is the best team I’ve ever been around, and I get mad thinking that we’re wasting time,” Rubio said. “We’re not learning. It’s time to change it.”

The third-quarter struggles are bizarre when considering Thibodeau’s efficient coaching history. He’s won nearly 64 percent of his career games, which ranks 16th all-time and one spot ahead of Pat Riley. In 2014-15, his last season with the Chicago Bulls, the team ranked fourth in the NBA in third-quarter net rating, according to NBA.com.

Just 10 games into their season, Thibodeau and the Timberwolves still have plenty of time remaining to solve the third-quarter mystery.