The Timberwolves came into this game facing significant odds against them. They were shorthanded, likely fatigued after last night's game that went down to the wire, and were playing a much stronger team in the Dallas Mavericks. The Wolves were unfortunately unable to make the game competitive, barring a brief run in the 2nd quarter, and were beat badly in the transition game, three point shots, and turnovers. It was a thorough affair.
The Wolves were plainly beat by the better team and their youth showed in every regard. At one point towards near the end of the third quarter Tyus Jones was running the fast break with Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad ahead (both filling the same lane on the right side). LaVine managed to get tangled up on Shabazz's feet and fell while Tyus threw the ball somewhere between the two players and the ball sailed out of bounds. That's the type of game it was.
The starting unit got absolutely destroyed in this game, especially in the first quarter. All five starters ended around -25 to -30 as a result. No one seemed to be able to get in a groove and there were consistent struggles in defensive transition and maintaining coverage of open three point shooters. The offense was stagnant and the short bursts of zone that the Mavericks threw at the Wolves caused general confusion. As a team, the Wolves finished shooting 37.8% to the Mavericks 52.8%. That is never going to end well.
Shabazz Muhammed was the only player on the Wolves who was able to get it going, although several of his buckets came from his pure will to attack the basket and collect offensive rebounds. He finished with 24 points.
The game was officially over at the beginning of the fourth, as the squad of Tyus Jones, Damjan Rudez, Zach LaVine, Adriean Payne, and Shabazz Muhammad started the quarter and ended up playing it to completion. Tyus had some nice shots at the end of the game but was given fits by J.J. Barea throughout.
On the Mavericks end, Chandler Parsons ended up with an impressive stat line of 29 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists on 4-7 shooting from three. The Mavericks were pretty much able to do whatever they wanted throughout the game and he made it look particularly easy as he glided around the court for open threes and drives through the lane.
There isn't too much more to say. It was a terrible performance from the Wolves against a clearly superior team. This has happened time to time throughout the season and will likely happen again before the year is up. These games will happen with young (and objectively bad) teams.
Oh and while the Wolves shot 7-23 on threes the Mavericks finished 13-36. While the difference in three point makes was not particularly egregious tonight, the increased spacing that the Mavericks created with the threat of their shooting was noticeable compared to the Wolves difficulties in initiating clean offensive sets.