For the second game in a row, the third quarter told the tale, but this time it was the Wolves extending their modest five point halftime lead to 17, and while the Nets tried to make a game of it in the fourth quarter, the Wolves were able to hold on and get their first road win of the season in Brooklyn.
As is often the case in early tip-offs, the game started out fairly sluggish, with neither team really shooting the ball well. The Wolves had the first punch, going up 14-7, but the Nets answered back immediately and took a 26-22 lead after one. Karl-Anthony Towns was in early foul trouble again, and was forced to the bench early. The Wolves were not able to find an offensive rhythm through much of the quarter.
In the second, however, they found the range from three, making four triples in the period, and seasoned that with some strong interior play from Taj Gibson, who was back at home in Brooklyn and feasted, finishing with a 16-11 double-double and making 6-7 shots on a day when he bought tickets for 150 kids from his old neighborhood.
It was the third where things really got going for the Wolves, highlighted by Karl-Anthony Towns’ 17 in the quarter. After his frustration in the first half, he took it out on the Nets in the third from all over the court. He dominated in the paint, with five field goals inside, going over and around the Nets bigs practically at will. He also made his lone three of the game in that quarter, extending his streak of making at least one three to 19 straight games to start the season.
After Towns’ rampage in the third quarter, it was Derrick Rose’s turn. Rose scored five in the third quarter and 11 in the fourth (on 5-7) shooting, and finished with 25 on the night as he continues his voluminous and surprisingly efficient scoring start to the season. He’s posting career highs by significant margins in three point percentage, true shooting percentage, and effective field goal percentage.
He also made this play, which was both impressive and representative of the game as a whole:
HOW, @DROSE?!?!?!?!— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 23, 2018
WHAT. A. DIME. pic.twitter.com/tvVH1wOG7a
The Wolves won the turnover battle 18-7, and scored 31 points off those Nets turnovers. The extra opportunities, and the Wolves converting on them, was the real difference in this ball game, and particular kudos should be given to Robert Covington, who continues to provide excellent defense and sniff out steals; he finished with five tonight giving him a total of 16 in five games since he joined Minnesota.
The Wolves desperately needed to get off the mat away from home, and they did so this afternoon. They defended effectively, an area that has been slowly improving over the past couple of weeks, and did enough offensively, mostly between KAT and Rose, to get out of town with a win that moves them to 8-11 on the season.
- After taking 50 three point attempts in their loss at Target Center, the Nets took another 45 today. They aren’t shy, but only made 14 (31%).
- D’Angelo Russell made nine threes at Target Center, but none today on his way to only five points. The Wolves really didn’t let anyone explode on them—Spencer Dinwiddie led the Nets with 18 points on 6-14 off the bench.
- Covington has apparently taken over as the big minute player for Tom Thibodeau, with 38 today. So far he’s more than earned it with his defense, hustle, shooting, and enthusiasm.
- Dario Saric was quiet today; He had been playing bigger minutes, but only 16 today as Taj Gibson was rolling and Saric couldn’t seem to find his rhythm. Good to have options.
- Andrew Wiggins struggled to a nine point game on 4-14 shooting, but it didn’t ultimately seem to matter as the team was +17 with him on the floor.
- The Wolves are back home to face the Bulls (and Zach LaVine!) tomorrow night, then go to Cleveland, then have a four game homestand before the most road heavy portion of the schedule starts.