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Wolves 116, Blazers 102: Dominant At Home

The Wolves took care of business at the Target Center

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I may be speaking in the moment here but that was the best win of the season if you ask me. Karl-Anthony Towns was out, and this game was still never in doubt. What a performance from start to finish from pretty much everyone on the roster.

I don’t want to spend too much time on the box score, but man did Andrew Wiggins carry this team tonight. He was phenomenal. It was right up there with one of this best games of the season, posting 23 points on 9-15 shooting as well as a season-high 8 assists. Well done, sir.

Really, though, it was just the way that Minnesota played tonight. They were dominant on the defensive end of the floor. The final score reflects that, but man, they defended so well in so many different ways tonight. They held Dame to 6-17 from the floor. That’s incredibly tough to do, and the entire team deserves credit for that.

It was a total team effort, but so much of that credit has to go to Robert Covington. It was a quintessential RoCo game, as he completely wreaked havoc off the ball all night long. He destroyed multiple Portland sets before they could even really get started. I get that there’s a good case for trading Covington, and nights like tonight only raise his value, but they also show exactly why Minnesota will want him once they finally are competitive.

You know who really needed a night like tonight? Josh Okogie, that’s who. He had been struggling so, so bad, and he had a great night by his standards. He found a way to be everywhere, flying around while staying in control (again, by his standards). He even made two threes! That’s what the best version of Josh Okogie looks like.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself here, but Gorgui Dieng just might be the best big man in the NBA. Just a smooth 12 & 10 in 17 minutes. I know that eventually moving him in a salary dump is inevitable, but for this season he needs to be playing 25+ minutes a night regardless of who’s playing.

Last, but certainly not least, I’m all the way back in on Jarrett Culver. He’s on a high right now against some bad teams, but he’s shown exactly what we’ve wanted to see. His ability to drive the ball was his biggest skill coming out, and we’ve seen a whole lot of it recently.

Let’s talk about the Blazers for a second, though. Maybe, just maybe, Carmelo Anthony isn’t all that good anymore? Single-game +/- is wonky, for sure, but -29? Yikes. Also, is Hassan Whiteside the worst player in the NBA who puts up good counting stats? He really has to be. He’s so, so lazy, and it was awesome watching the Wolves take advantage of that.

The bottom line is that tonight was as much fun as we’ve had since the first week of the season. This team played great tonight. The final result was never really in doubt. The defense has been so, so impressive over this recent stretch. If Karl-Anthony Towns is able to at least somewhat hold serve on that end, this crew may just find themselves squeaking into the playoffs.

Go Wolves.