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Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolf Nightcap, Vol. 6

KEEP ER’ GOIN’

Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

MINNEAPOLIS — The countless unfinished, partially written drafts loitering in the editorial dashboard weighed on my mind driving home. I thought about all of the articles that I’ve started and never finished over six years; the various pieces that have been collecting dust in the back end of this website, never to see the light of day.

One, in particular, came to mind.

I was working on an article about Andrew Wiggins during training camp. The thesis was basic: the single most satisfying result of this fresh new team would be seeing Wiggins find himself in a way that we could all seriously believe in without seeming completely delusional. Nothing could rival the feeling of watching Wiggs take a meaningful, believable, and lasting step forward that felt both sustainable and promising in the franchise’s latest chapter under the leadership of Gersson Rosas. That was the essence of the post. But like so many times before, I let that post die in the drafts.

That half-finished thought that I never could find the energy to finish crossed my mind leaving Target Center on Friday night. Andrew Wiggins dominated the Golden State Warriors in an eye-opening way — 40 points, 5 boards, 7 dimes, 3 blocks, and 0 turnovers in 45 minutes — and his season is off to the booming start that gives hope to not only those Island dwellers who always hunkered down as the endless storms passed through, but all of us who have watched and wished and hoped and dreamed for a sustainable Good Wiggins over all these years.

Maybe this is simply the latest flash in the pan from Wiggins, one that keeps us thirsty with hope and frustrated when the results aren’t marvelous. Maybe we’re witnessing the product of an inclusive culture that aims to empower its Max contract players. Whatever it is, it’s incredibly satisfying. One might even write a column on how it’s the most satisfying thing to witness in Wolvesdom.

That was very cash money of you, Drew.

Highlight Time

This wasn’t pretty at all, but wins are wins.

Saunders Speaks

On Andrew Wiggins:

“He did it all, forty points in almost 45 minutes. He did a nice job getting downhill and creating for others as well — seven assists and no turnovers. He basically played the point for most of the game. Coming home from Memphis we talked about the point guard position. He’s hungry.”

On D’Angelo Russell:

“We tried to stop him, we didn’t do a very good job. We eventually went to trying to switch, switch up, and he’s good with the basketball.”

On the game:

“I didn’t think it was a very good game. There’s not a lot of things you can say we really liked except the fact that we gutted one out, one that we needed. That’s a big credit to these guys. We kept fighting.”

Why didn’t they bring the double on D’LO to get the ball out of his hands?

“We discussed it and we went back and forth towards the end. We ultimately opted not to because we wanted to try to get to a switch where we could keep a blue shirt on a white shirt and not commit two to the ball and open up. They had other three-point shooters on the court. That was where we wanted to go and it worked a couple of times, but ultimately I’m not very happy with it.”

Covington The Glovington

8 STOCKS. SERIOUSLY. 8 STOCKS.

The All-NBA defender said “enough is enough” in overtime.

KEEP ER’ GOIN’

The only part of this video that could’ve made it more Minnesotan is if Wiggs responded “You Betcha” to Glen and Becky. Oh for Pete’s sake! I can’t help but love this. Ope! Duck, Duck, Gray Duck. Hotdish. Dontcha know. This is how we do it up North at the cabin fer sure. (Sorry, I actually do love this.)

Quick Hitters

  • Wolves outscored the Warriors 70-34 in the paint. The +36-margin in the paint tonight is the Wolves’ largest positive differential since Dec. 18, 2013 vs. Portland (+38, 72-34)
  • Outrebounded Golden State 59-49; 20 offensive boards were a season-high
  • This was Wiggins’ fifth career 30 point/5 rebound/5 assist game and has back-to-back 30-point games for the fifth time in his career (MR: Feb. 14-15, 2017).
  • Robert Covington swiped a season-high five steals, bringing him over the 500 mark for his career. He also added a season-high three blocks to becomes the second player in team history to have a stat line of at least 15+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ steals and 3+ blocks (Kevin Garnett, 12/4/2004 at Los Angeles Clippers).
  • Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds, including 11 points and 10 boards in the second half.
  • Noah Vonleh grabbed a season-high seven rebounds.
  • Josh Okogie (Captain Chaos!) had 14 points and 7 rebounds. SPARK PLUG.
  • D’Angelo Russell finished with a career-high 52 points to go along with nine rebounds. Fun fact: This was the third time an opposing Wolves’ player scored 40+ points on November 8th, joining Michael Jordan (45, 1989) and Joe Dumars (40, 1994)
  • Alec Burks looked sharp, scoring 18 points off the GSW bench
  • This deserves an award:

More Quotes

Robert Covington on Wiggins:

“We’ve seen Wiggs ability to what we imagined him to be, what we believe he can be. He has people around him that are pushing him, that believe in him and that’s contagious. He’s been able to take on what everyone’s been believing and just go out there and have the confidence and just play. The last couple of games he’s been on fire. We believe in him, the coaching staff, the organization believes in him so now he’s starting to see it and he’s starting to feel it and going out there and being confident.”

Josh Okogie on D’Angelo Russell:

“He’s at the top. When you have a guy going like that you have to make adjustments. With us being a good defensive team, we made the proper adjustments to get the stops we needed.”

On getting stops when you need them:

“It definitely feels good, knowing that we got that fight. Every game isn’t going to be a game where we can be frontrunning and win from the beginning. We have to know that when the tough gets going, do we have that fight to prevail and tonight showed that we did.”

Golden State Head Coach Steve Kerr

”Well, we had control of that game and then we let it slip away. It is unfortunate, our guys played really hard and I thought played well enough to win, but give Minnesota credit. They made big plays down the stretch. You know they got some offensive boards and we would like to see better box-outs. We turned it over quite a bit in the second half and we had a couple offensive possessions that kinda went south, so there is a lot of stuff to pull from.”

On D’Angelo Russell:

”He was unbelievable. D’Angelo hit some incredible shots and was just tremendous on that screen and roll, played a fantastic game.”

On Russell’s style of play:

”He is one of the best screen-and-roll players in the league so he is really crafty and clever, changes speeds and gets in front of guys, kind of plays a little cat-and-mouse game and then he has got the great touch in the lane. Those float shots are not easy but he makes them look routine.”

Alec Burks on Russell’s performance:

”One of the best performances I have seen … I think he just played his game, that is the player he is. Big-time players make big time shots and that’s what he did.”

D’Angelo Russell on if this performance was building while he was out:

”I guess. I think I am capable of doing whatever with the ball in my hand so just trying to make a play every time and fortunately, shots were going in and we were making plays, so it happens like that in this league.”

On him carrying the offensive load:

”I think we have a system in place where it can be anybody’s night. Anybody can make plays within the system. I think the sky is the limit for this group.”

Me: Hmm...the sky is the limit? With that group?

D”Lo on what it means to score 50:

”It is cool. Obviously, you want to win. You get in that zone and you are trying to chase that zone every game, every practice you’re in that zone. Shots were just falling. So, I just tried to keep going, keep fighting and put my team in the best position.”

Closing Time

You don’t have to go home, you can stay here at Canis Hoopus.
This is the Hotel Canis Hoopus. Such a lovely place (such a lovely place).
You must change your face.