In a game without three of the Wolves regular rotation players, their depth was greatly tested. The game ended in a double digit defeat, and there were a few very evident reasons the game ended this way.
The second quarter absolutely killed the Wolves. Let’s run through a few of the things that went on during that quarter. First, early in the quarter, the Wolves were trying to call a timeout to halt a Boston run. Instead, Jerryd Bayless found a way to turn the ball over before he could call timeout which led to an easy Celtics basket.
After the next Wolves timeout, Josh Okogie illegally inbounded the ball into the backcourt, resulting in a backcourt violation. That’s pathetic execution in/out of a timeout.
Also, Jerryd Bayless was on the court in the second quarter. It is hard to describe just how bad he was in his five minutes. To try to give you an idea if you didn’t watch, he was a -10 in those five second quarter minutes. He cannot play. It’s a topic for another day, but if he isn’t even functional as an emergency guard I’m not sure why he’s on the roster.
Anyways, all of that ended with a 35-21 second quarter victory for the Celtics. That’s tough to overcome when you’re shorthanded and on the road.
The other story of the night is the Wolves defense (or lack-thereof), especially on Gordon Hayward. Hayward finished with 35 points on 14 of 18 from the field and 4 of 7 from deep. If that sounds familiar, Hayward also went for 30 in the matchup between these two teams earlier in the year. Those two games are Hayward’s only two games above 20 points for the entire season.
Wiggins carried the Wolves early on and had one of his better games of the season, finishing with a season-high 31 points on 10 of 18 from the field. The most encouraging part of his night, in my opinion, was his aggression to get to the rim, which led to 12 free throw attempts.
After a nightmare first half, Towns turned it on in the second half, specifically the third quarter. Towns’ problems in the first half were all too familiar. Al Horford is a great defender, but too often he was able to push Towns outside of the paint and force Karl to catch the ball around the three-point line tonight. Towns came out firing in the third quarter though, when he poured in 20 points and led what was a fierce comeback attempt at the time.
A few notes...
- After notching 5 or more assists in 4 of the past 5 games, Towns finished with 7 assists tonight. His passing out of the post and double teams has greatly improved, and it showed again tonight. You can read more on the specifics of his improved passing here.
- With all of the guys out tonight (Rose, Teague, RoCo), the bench was obviously going to look different tonight. I don’t think anyone expected (or wanted) to see Anthony Tolliver out there as a small forward in tonight’s matchup, though. It’s unreasonable to ask Tolliver to play on the wing and guard Jayson Tatum. Tatum didn’t directly hurt the Wolves off of this action, but the scramble situations it led to did not help Minnesota.
- Tyus Jones played what was likely his most aggressive game of the season tonight. He scored 14 points on 14 field goal attempts, making 7. He also added 9 assists and 4 steals, although his 4 turnovers were a bit high for what the Wolves need from Tyus.