It's been a tough season for the Minnesota Timberwolves—one in which they've failed to live up to expectations.
The team that beat them Sunday was in the same boat at the start of the season but turned things around at the turn of the new year.
After kicking off 2013-14 with a record of 10-21, the Brooklyn Nets are now 39-33 after Sunday's win over the Wolves.
When asked about the Nets' ability to turn their season around, Minnesota star Forward Kevin Love wasn't coy in his response:
Kevin Love on the Nets' turning their season around after rough start amidst high expectations: "They're in the East."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) March 31, 2014
Now, he certainly has a point about the Nets being in the East. According to Basketball-Reference, each of the 15 toughest schedules in the NBA this season can be found in the Western Conference. Brooklyn's strength of schedule ranks them 22nd, while Minnesota's is 11th.
The fact that the Wolves have had to play the majority of their games against other teams in the Western Conference has certainly made it harder for them to turn things around.
That doesn't mean anyone who's playing well in the East should be totally discounted, though.
Especially the Nets, who are 17-12 against Western Conference teams and 22-21 against teams in their own conference.
Further, seven of Brooklyn's 11 wins in March came against teams over .500, and they've been darn near unbeatable at home lately:
You can't fault Love for speaking his mind on this, though. After all, if the playoffs started today, his 36-36 Wolves would miss the cut, while two sub-.500 teams in the East would be in.
Would it be easier for Minnesota to turn things around in the other conference? Of course. Playing more losing teams would almost surely lead to more wins. But thinking about that is an exercise in futility:
Perhaps Mr. Love would like the Earth to turn on its axis and the East Coast would become the West Coast. That would solve everything.— NetsDaily.com (@NetsDaily) March 31, 2014
The Wolves aren't in the East. And they face an uphill, or, more accurately, a nearly impossible climb to complete a turnaround of their own. They're currently seven games out of eighth place with only 10 to go.
They'll likely have to wait until next season to take another realistic shot at meeting their expectations.
Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.