Prior to Wednesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs had squared off 119 times, with the Spurs winning over 75% of those contests (89). In other words, for as long as I can remember, seeing “Spurs” on the schedule meant my favorite team was in for a long evening of crisp offensive execution and frenetic defensive rotations from their opponent, ultimately resulting in an almost guaranteed “L.” However, as the culture at Mayo Square continues to change, so too have the fortunes of the team that calls that place home.
Led by yet another All-Star performance from Andrew Wiggins, the Wolves thumped the Spurs 129-114 Wednesday night, pushing their early season record to a surprising 7-4. While Wiggs once again played like a man possessed (more on him in a minute), it was the production of a few of his teammates (most notably Jake Layman and Jeff Teague) who propelled Minnesota to the finish line. Teague was especially noteworthy, pouring in an efficient 18 points (6-of-10 shooting) and racking up 6 assists in just 23 minutes of action off the bench, despite being sidelined for the previous 4 games due to the plague (or some other serious illness).
Asked post game if the recent development of #PointWiggins could lead to Teague transitioning to a full-time role coming off the bench, coach Ryan Saunders explained:
“I don’t know. I am just happy that we won at the moment and that we played well. The winning takes care of itself if you do the little things right. Those guys have fully bought in to that, but whatever we do moving forward as a group, we do it as a group and I am going to bring it up again because it is a real thing, you have guys in Noah Vonleh and Gorgui Dieng who both deserve solid minutes and we have tried to give teams different looks when KAT [Karl-Anthony Towns] isn’t on the floor in terms of, Noah is a little bit quicker and Gorgui protects the rim a little better. They both have some strengths, but that is just the fact that those guys give themselves up for the group and the fact that they want each other to do well, that is just what that locker room is. Whatever we do, in terms of starting lineup, end-of-the-game lineup, these guys have been great in terms of wanting to help each other.”
As for the man in the middle, it’s impossible these days to write a post game recap without mentioning the superb play of Karl-Anthony Towns, who continues to unleash fury on those who have wronged him in the past. KAT was up to his usual tricks Wednesday night, displaying his prolific stroke from outside (3-of-8 from deep) while also using his giant frame to bully smaller defenders around the rim. Our favorite feline even found time to continue his “Don’t F*** With Me” tour, this time exchanging pleasantries with one Rudy Carlton Gay, Jr:
KAT not backing down from anyone this season pic.twitter.com/h7iIcB1N1i— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 14, 2019
But back to Andrew — if your phone or computer has WiFi capabilities, you’ve probably read at least one or two articles this week discussing the renaissance taking place on Wiggins Island. Over his last five games (including Wednesday night against the Spurs), Wiggins is now averaging 30 points on 53% shooting (including 6.7 3PA per game) while also grabbing 5.0 rebounds and tallying 2.6 STOCKS (steals + blocks). During that same span, the University of Kansas product is dishing out a career best 6.1 assists per night while turning the ball over just 1.6 times a game.
After the game, young Maple Jordan gave a fairly candid (and refreshing) interview with one of his former coaches, Sam Mitchell:
Simply put, it’s no longer up for discussion as to whether or not Andrew Wiggins is finally making “the leap,” but rather figuring out just how high the 24-year old plans to ascend.
Full Game Highlights
- From our friends at Timberwolves PR: Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins both scored 25+ points in the win, the third game in row they’ve done that and the 35th time overall. Since Towns entered the league in 2015-16, only the duos of Steph Curry/Kevin Durant (54), Curry/Klay Thompson (42) and Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum (39) have scored 25+ points in the same game more frequently.
- After notching seven more assists Wednesday night, Wiggins has now handed out 5+ assists in five straight games, the longest such streak of his career.
- Despite his jumper running cold, Josh Okogie once again found other ways to get involved, this time grabbing a season-high 10 rebounds (which is one shy of his career mark).
- The Wolves outrebounded San Antonio 50-44, moving to 7-0 this season when outrebounding its opponent. The 50 rebounds marked the fifth time this season grabbing 50+ rebounds as a team (insert eye emoji).
- As for the Wolves’ prized rookie, Jarrett Culver continued to display a rather vast toolbox, adding in 12 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. While the numbers may not pop off the box score, it does seem like the game is starting to slow down for the kid from Lubbock, Texas, and he confirmed these thoughts after the game:
“It for sure feels that way. Coaches and I watch a lot of film. They help me a lot. With the work I put in, my teammates helping me out, film, it helps the game slow down.”
- And despite ALL of that, the stat of the night has nothing to do with the home squad and everything to do with the opponent. With Wednesday night’s loss, San Antonio fell to 5-6 on the season, which marks only the 66th day in TWENTY-TWO years that the Spurs have found themselves below .500.
But enough about San Antonio... hey RoCo! Anything you’d like to say to the readers before signing off?