Coming off of a rough 0-4 road trip, a win like the one Minnesota had tonight is just what the doctor ordered.
After fighting off an early Buddy Hield explosion (16 of Sacramento’s first 17 points), Minnesota was in total control of the game. They opened up a 15 point lead at the end of the first, and supplemented that by completely blowing the game open in the second frame. The Wolves went to the halftime locker room with a 30 point lead.
Sacramento rested their starters to begin the second half. In typical Wolves fashion, they came out flat in the third quarter and looked like they just might blow that massive lead. Andrew Wiggins got some easy offense at the end of the quarter to grow the lead back out and effectively ended the game.
It should be noted that Sacramento is a team that plays extremely fast and was on the tail-end of a back-to-back. This, combined with the fact that none of Sacramento’s starters played more than 18 minutes surely made things easier. Whatever. Minnesota really needed this win and they defended their home court admirably.
Overall, there was a lot of good tonight. The Wolves got solid production from just about everyone who stepped on the court. It is definitely worth noting how much better the starters looked to open the game with Rose at PG instead of Teague.
With 9 players scoring in double figures, but no player scoring over 17, this was probably the most balanced effort we’ve seen thus far this year. I’d be shocked to see a more balanced offensive attack at any other point throughout the season. Everyone that played at least 20 minutes reached double figures. That’s phenomenal.
One thing that caught my eye was KAT’s rim protection. It’s hard to take too much from this game after the first quarter or so, but in that first quarter KAT made it nearly impossible for De’Aaron Fox to get anything easy around the rim. In fact, KAT blocked at least two of Fox’s shots around the rim and bothered many more interior attempts throughout the night.
Fox has been a menace for the rest of the league this year, so the strong rim protection for Towns tonight is extremely encouraging. It is truly astounding how much better he and the rest of the team defended tonight at home.
The other thing that stuck out to me, as I’m sure it did to everyone else, was the play of Josh Okogie. Mr. Obi-Wan was all over the place tonight. His energy, once again, seemed to give life to the entire lineup. It’s obvious the other guys on the team want him to play more, given the way they react when he does pretty much anything. His energy is genuinely contagious.
I’m not sure that he deserves 20-25 minutes a night, but Josh Okogie definitely belongs in the nightly rotation to some degree. Regardless of the circumstances, he played his tail off against a potential playoff team and gave the Wolves the boost they needed.
As a whole, it truly is night and day for this team at home vs. on the road. Under a week ago the Kings had their best offensive output of the season against Minnesota. This time, in Minneapolis, the Kings barely scored 40 points in the first half.
If Minnesota continues to assist on as many baskets as they did tonight (37 assists on 48 made field goals), the offense is going to take care of itself every night.
Everyone loves to have their team defend home court, but if the Wolves are to have any shot at the playoffs they need to be able to win on the road.
Either way, after a rough road trip made especially bad by the loss to Phoenix, tonight was a night of pure joy watching our beloved Minnesota Timberwolves.
Lines of the night:
Towns: 14 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks
Rose: 13 points, 11 assists
Josh Okogie wrecking the rim, scattering the Kings pic.twitter.com/jLxZCRP19t— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 18, 2018