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Hornets 115, Wolves 108: Missed Opportunities

The Wolves threw away a game they ultimately should’ve closed out.

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Minnesota Timberwolves Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Well, if nothing else, that was certainly an entertaining game. Truthfully though, it’s hard not to walk away from that one feeling pretty disappointed. Sure, Karl-Anthony Towns was out, but the Wolves still should’ve been able to take care of this Charlotte team at home.

It was really a game the Wolves gave away, which makes it all the more frustrating. After opening up a huge lead throughout the middle of the game, Minnesota went ice cold from the field and ended up giving the game away.

That’s where they really missed Karl-Anthony Towns. As good and fun as D’Angelo Russell and Malik Beasley are, the Wolves needed their superstar to take control and stop the bleeding tonight. Unfortunately, he just wasn’t available tonight.

This will become a theme, but the defense tonight was pretty bad. I’m not going to complain, because frankly I’m just happy to have a fun team to watch on most nights, but giving up as many points as they did to a Charlotte team who is 1) not very good and b) plays at a snails pace is not something to be proud of.

Still, you could see where things would go better at full strength, although you’d hope in the future the Wolves don’t need to be at full strength to beat a team like Charlotte.

Nonetheless, some main points to hit:

  • Malik Beasley is a dog. He’s the kind of guy who you can live with some of the questionable shots because he plays so damn hard the entire night. Beasley finished with 28/6/3, albeit not on great efficiency. It seems that he’s going to be very capable of filling in as the third wheel moving forward, but he might’ve been stretched just a bit tonight working as Robin.
  • D’Angelo Russell is a whole lot different than any PG we’ve seen in quite a while. He’s not shy, that’s for sure. He’s willing to take some chances, which will lead to turnovers, but I think you live with it for the extra buckets it’ll get you. I’ve been impressed through two games.
  • As fun as those two guards are, they did give a whole lot back on defense tonight. Both Devonte’ Graham and Malik Monk tore this defense apart. Graham (28 points) hit the dagger, an end-of-shot-clock bomb that really sucked the air out of the arena. It’s remarkable how good of a pro he has been. Maybe there’s something to this whole, “being good at basketball” thing that translates from college to the pros.
  • It’s a give and take, but tonight showed what happens when you don’t shoot the lights out from three. It’s not the end of the world, and you live with the variance, but it is a reality we must all accept.
  • James Johnson did a better job on defense than Naz Reid, but rim protection was non-existent tonight. Maybe Jarred Vanderbilt is just really bad, but it might’ve been worth giving him more than four minutes tonight to find out.

With the All-Star break on the horizon, the Wolves will now have eight full days off before their next contest (a home game against the Boston Celtics). Hopefully the extended break gives Towns some much-needed rest for his injured wrist, but also gives the Wolves an opportunity to gel a little more in practice and acclimate all the new players to their new system.