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Wolves 103, Knicks 92: Easy as KBD

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The Wolves’ rookie played his best game as a professional

NBA: New York Knicks at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

To be completely honest, this is what I thought this game was going to be like:

Instead, we were actually treated to a pretty enjoyable night from the Timberwolves side of things. The Wolves got great contributions from so many guys.

Taj Gibson, starting in place of our sweet prince Karl-Anthony Towns, started the game off by giving DeAndre Jordan buckets on the low block. For a somewhat undersized big, his footwork and touch around the rim is extremely impressive. Taj, quietly, can get buckets with the best of ‘em in the post. Taj finished with a team high 25 points on 11 for 15 shooting.

This was also one of the best Jeff Teague games in a long time. He attacked and made some beautiful passes on his way to a 20-point, 10-assist game. His distribution tonight was meaningful and helped this short-handed squad take home a victory.

Tyus Jones looked comfortable running the show tonight and was more aggressive than usual. The result? Jones dropped 13 points, making 3 of his 4 three-point attempts. A Tyus Jones that looks for his shot more often is something that Minnesota should want more of in the future.

Cam Reynolds got more run than he is used to getting tonight, and it was a mixed bag for him. He looked nervous/jumpy offensively in his first stint, but came back in the second half to play some solid positional defense and hit a three in transition. It’s encouraging to see the 10-day contracts be used in a worthwhile manner for the first time, like, ever.

All of these guys were noteworthy tonight, but there’s no denying that Keita Bates-Diop was the story of the night for the Wolves. The Ohio State product is smooth and smart. He’s a great cutter and has proved to be a capable spot-up shooter thus far. At 6’9” he also has great size for a wing player. Tonight, it all equated to an 18 point, 6 rebound, 2 steal, 2 block performance on an efficient 7-12/2-3.

I think we all kind of knew that KBD should have been playing more earlier in the season, but now it is painfully obvious. He could absolutely have helped this team on the wing before they were already out of the playoff hunt.

When Andrew Wiggins comes back, Ryan Saunders is going to have a tough decision to make. If this play from KBD can continue, he deserves more minutes than Wiggins. So does Luol Deng. Maybe losing minutes to KBD and Lu would be enough to light a fire under AW, but probably not. It’s terribly sad, but hey, it looks like the Wolves did an outstanding job in the draft last June. Finding a player like KBD in the second round is good stuff, guys.

In the end, it was all enough to get the Wolves a win against the lowly Knickerbockers. Hopefully our favorite feline gets healthy soon and can get back out there.