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Wolves 139, Pelicans 134: Playing Spoiler

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The Wolves win a shootout in New Orleans

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at New Orleans Pelicans Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Wolves win!

The Wolves couldn’t stop a nosebleed once again, but that’s (maybe) the last negative thing I’m going to say.

You pick a player on the Wolves, and they contributed mightily towards winning tonight.

It would be foolish to start anywhere other than Malik Beasley. What a freaking performance from him. He finished with 28/4/3 on 11-13 from the field, and was absolutely everywhere whenever the Wolves needed a big play. That guy is a winner, and we’re lucky he’s (most likely) going to be here for a while.

D’Angelo Russell struggled for much of the night, but he was massive in the fourth quarter which is exactly what they need from him. Beasley carried the load throughout the game, and Russell brought them home.

I’m running out of things to say about Jordan McLaughlin. The undrafted rookie was 6 for 7 from the field for 13 points to go along with 6 assists, good for a +17. He’s unbelievable. What a find.

The rest of the Wolves were also outstanding. Jarrett Culver maneuvered his way to the rim. James Johnson did EVERYTHING tonight, and looks like a real leader for this team. Juancho Hernangomez was big, and Naz Reid shot it well and battled about as best as could possibly be expected of him against Zion Williamson. This was so fun because of how many guys chipped in to close this one out.

It should also be noted how important this game was for New Orleans. They’re trying to sneak into the playoffs, and they certainly had this game circled as a win when they looked at the schedule. It’s going to be fun to see if the Wolves can’t play spoiler moving forward.

A few other notes:

  • Holy cow, Zion is everything we thought he’d be, and probably a little bit more. If he develops from the free-throw line a bit and works on his right hand, it’s over for the rest of the league. What a monster.
  • The way Jarrett Culver played tonight was the version the Wolves need. He played his tail off, he played aggressive, and he was great cutting off the ball. That’s his niche with this team, I think.
  • The ex-Lakers were impressive. Brandon Ingram can score with the best of them, but I was really most impressed with Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart. Those are two guys who make winning plays repeatedly.
  • Naz Reid has now set his career-high in rebounds in consecutive games, posting 14 boards tonight. There are still times where he looks out of place in the flow of an NBA game, but he played well tonight.

Can the Wolves win two in a row? They’ve got the Bulls on the schedule tomorrow, in a game where they will have a rare advantage in coaching (sorry). Jim Boylen is just such an idiot, I can’t wait to see what he does tomorrow. Mostly, I’m excited to see Zach LaVine again tomorrow. It would be nice to see Jarrett Culver have a nice game against Coby White (ducks).

Anyways, that was a great win against a very good team since Zion came into the lineup.

Let’s keep that shit goin’, D-Lo.