Turnover margin vital to Timberwolves’ turnaround

The Timberwolves clinched their 32nd win of the season over the weekend when they handled the hapless Brooklyn Nets 111-97 at the Target Center.

How is a win over a far inferior team significant? Well, that “W” meant the Timberwolves surpassed their season total of victories from last year (31).

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With 30 games to play.

A big reason for the Timberwolves’ turnaround and first-place status in the Northwest Division has been their ability to take care of the basketball. Minnesota is committing 12.5 turnovers per game, second fewest in the NBA. Now pair that with 8.9 steals per game (fourth in the league) on the other end of the floor.

The result? Minnesota has tallied fewer turnovers than its opponent in 35 of 52 games — the most in the NBA — and has a 21-14 record in those contests.

It’s just another reason why the Timberwolves own the largest win percentage improvement from last season (.378, 31-51) to this year (.615, 32-20).

The Atlanta Hawks, who host the Timberwolves on Monday evening at Philips Arena, have the worst change in win percentage in the NBA.

TEAM 2016-17 2017-18 DIFF.
Timberwolves 31-51 (.378) 32-20 (.615) +.237  (best)
Hawks 43-39 (.524) 14-35 (.286) -.238  (worst)

NOTABLE

— The Timberwolves have won their last four matchups with the Hawks dating back to the 2015-16 season.

— Jimmy Butler has a 50.9 percent career field-goal percentage at Philips Arena.

— Atlanta’s 2017 first-round pick John Collins is averaging 10.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game this year.

— Taj Gibson is shooting 69.9 percent this season within five feet of the rim, ranking just behind Cleveland’s LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Pelicans for the league lead.

Statistics courtesy STATS, baskeball-reference.com