Well, let’s start with this. Here’s what I wrote in the pregame:
So, yeah, they did the thing, again. Minnesota actually started the game okay, winning the first six minutes, but it was all Memphis after that.
This was a game that we’ve seen far too often in the past. Minnesota waltzed into Memphis and dropped a game they should’ve won. The left the defense at home, giving up a disgusting 137 (!!!) points to a Grizzlies team among the worst in the NBA on the offensive end. What is that?!
They gave up 72 points in the first half, and the second half was no better. All night long, the defense was terrible. With all due respect, any time you let Dillon Brooks cook you for 31 points on only 16 FGA, you’re playing truly horrendous defense.
Memphis’ future is bright, with Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke standing out in particular tonight. Morant is as electric as advertised. Betting on anyone else to win Rookie of the Year seems foolish at this point, as Ja is stuffing the stat sheet in just around 28 minutes a night.
We didn’t know quite what to expect from Minnesota given that both Jeff Teague and Shabazz Napier were out tonight, but the offense was more helter skelter than I would’ve guessed.
It felt like Minnesota was incredibly unorganized all night long. While Jarrett Culver had a decent game running the point, the minutes where Jordan McLaughlin played were horrendous, and there was just no way that the Wolves were going to be able to overcome that tonight. Culver posted a strong stat line of 15/5/7, and the Wolves were actually a +4 in his minutes.
Karl-Anthony Towns finished with his usual dominant stat-line of 25/13, but he wasn’t as efficient in the process of attaining those numbers. Without any true point guard, the Wolves needed KAT to be at his best tonight and he just wasn’t despite what the raw numbers might indicate.
I will say, one bright spot tonight was Andrew Wiggins. I’m not all the way there yet because we’ve seen this too often, but Wiggs was really good tonight, especially on the offensive end. He controlled the ball, attacked when he should attack, and pulled up when necessary. In the end, Wiggins finished with 31 points and 6 assists on 11 for 21 from the field. He seemed to be the most impactful player for Minnesota tonight.
There’s not a lot to take from a game like tonight where you’re missing your only two active point guards on the big league roster, but it’s still a disappointing loss nonetheless.
While many of us may have our gripes about JFT, his absence is always felt when he isn’t available to play. If he isn’t good for anything else. he at least can conduct the offense and keep everyone under control. There were simply too many instances of a Wolves wing player being out of control in transition, leading to a turnover or an ill-advised shot attempt.
Minnesota is going to be fine offensively moving forward, especially if this recent production from Andrew Wiggins can continue. The defense tonight was absolutely unacceptable. The Wolves will look to bounce back Friday against Golden State.