It may have been a snowy, freezing evening in Detroit, but it certainly was sunny and 75 on Wiggins Island. There were numerous contributors to the win tonight, and we’ll get to all of them, but Andrew Wiggins was sensational yet again this evening.
Wiggins finished with 33 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists on 12-20 from the floor and 3-5 from deep. He scored 11 of those points and was a calming presence in a fourth quarter that was otherwise chaotic. We’ve been burned by short spurts of impressive play from Andrew Wiggins before, but he deserves every piece of praise he’s going to get for tonight’s performance. Karl-Anthony Towns struggled with foul trouble throughout the game, and Wiggins was able to keep the team afloat.
Wiggins scoring was needed, but the passing and ball-handling really stood out as well. Wiggs was great in the pick-and-roll, routinely making the right reads and hitting the open shooter in their shooting pocket. More of that, please.
As for his co-star, Karl-Anthony Towns still was productive despite the aforementioned foul trouble. In 30 minutes, Towns poured in 25/8/6 along with 2 blocks. He struggles with the bulk of Andre Drummond, but he causes so many problems for Drummond on the perimeter. The Detroit big man was hopeless whenever KAT caught the ball around the three-point line.
“The Other Guys” were huge too, namely Jake Layman, Treveon Graham, and Gorgui Dieng. Layman was on fire, giving Minnesota 16 points on 6 of 9 from the field and 4 of 5 from three. He also scored a few times off of his patented baseline cuts.
Graham made shots tonight, which was a huge boost to go along with his normal tenacious defense. On nights where he or Josh Okogie make shots, Minnesota just becomes that much harder to beat.
G didn’t get as much run in the second half, but his stint to end the first half was HUGE. Towns had three first half fouls, and Dieng was able to pick up the slack. He’s the easiest guy to root for, and it was awesome to see him play well tonight.
As the Wolves performed the way they did tonight, I can’t help but think a lineup consisting of Wiggs/Okogie/Graham/RoCo/KAT might be their best lineup. Wiggins seems to have the capability to run the point for stretches now, and not having a smaller point guard on the floor creates such an advantage for you.
If Jeff Teague remains out, I’d look for that look a little more often, especially considering how poorly Jordan McLaughlin has played. Jarrett Culver is starting to come around a little bit, but there are still a lot of moments where he looks a bit too tentative to really contribute consistently this season.
Not to beat a dead horse, but this one really was about Andrew Wiggins. He looked like a legitimate co-star, taking and making shots that should allow him to sustain that scoring output. Throw in the passing and rebounding, and we might be cooking with something here.
There isn’t a ton to hit on from the Detroit side of things, but one guy I’d love to see in a Timberwolves uniform some day is Luke Kennard. He’s such a pure shooter and scorer, and he feels like exactly the kind of player Minnesota could use on the wing.
One last quick note, expect more swings from the three-point line like we had the past two days. When you shoot a high volume of threes, you open yourself up to a high variance in terms of range of outcomes. Some nights you can’t hit the broad side of the barn, the next you make 44% of your threes. That’s just the way it is. Enjoy this one, 6-4 feels pretty darn good.