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Wolves 112, Kings 105: Dominant KAT Leads The Way

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Minnesota’s franchise big man led the team to an important victory

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Whew, what a game in Minneapolis.

In typical Wolves fashion, they couldn’t make it too easy on themselves. Falling behind by double digits early on, the second best player in franchise history ultimately took control.

It’s hard to overstate how good Karl-Anthony Towns was tonight, particularly in the first half. He had 24 points and 12 boards at the break, and finished with 34/21/5 and 2 blocks on 13 of 18 from the floor and 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. He was as good as we’ve maybe ever seen him tonight.

He provided a few gorgeous highlights as well.

I will admit those jams got me out of my seat. Towns was everywhere tonight.

The other bright spots? Taj Gibson, Tyus Jones, Josh Okogie, and Luol Deng. Tyus and Okogie were outstanding on the defensive end of the floor. Okogie recorded 4 steals while harassing Buddy Hield into 5 turnovers.

Tyus contributed big time on both ends of the floor, finishing with 16 points and 8 assists as well as 3 steals. He was much more aggressive looking for his own shot tonight which made Minnesota a different team offensively. His offensive creation is something the Wolves will need moving forward.

As for the old guys, Gibson and Deng both provided stability off the bench. Gibson was the anchor of an early second quarter run that got the the Wolves back into the game. Lu Deng was the best Wolves wing tonight, and it wasn’t really close. He finished with a modest 9/4/2/2/1, but it was remarkable how his basketball IQ changed things for Minnesota. He was a +11 while Andrew Wiggins was a -7, the worst on the team. That’s all we’ll say about that.

It was a great win for Minnesota, but it cannot be ignored how fun Marvin Bagley III has become. He’s been a target of a few jokes thus far since he was taken over Luka Doncic in the draft, but he’s really started to come into his own. He got the start tonight and put up 25 & 11 on 9 of 15 from the field. He was so active and made for a headache inside.

I’ve been firmly in the camp that the Wolves were completely out of the playoff picture, but given tonight’s events, that is just not true. I have no idea how this happened, but they are right in the thick of things. The Lakers lost to the Grizzlies tonight, and it really does not look like they’re going to be able to right the ship. They got destroyed by Jonas Valencuinas and Joakim Noah.

With that, the Wolves beat the Kings tonight, obviously, which is a helper in the standings as well. Lastly, the Spurs lost in Brooklyn tonight. The Clippers have a twilight game against the Mavericks, but tonight literally could not have gone any better for the Wolves. They’re 2 games behind the Spurs in the loss column. It’s still improbable, but somehow, someway, this team is just not quite dead yet.

A few notes...

  • I took it easy on Andrew Wiggins earlier, but man, he stunk tonight. He was 3 of 10 from the field and 1 of 7 from three. He was the only starter with a negative +/-. It was a really, really bad night for Wiggs. When RoCo comes back, there are going to be some hard decisions for Ryan Saunders to make if this team is serious about making a final playoff push.
  • Derrick Rose finally made a three! He had missed 23 straight from beyond the arc until putting one home tonight, part of his 20 points.
  • Robert Covington tweeted “Soon” earlier today. The Wolves refuse to give updates on him, but I miss that guy. Maybe they’ll make a real run at the postseason if he can get back soon. Probably not, but maybe.