I’ll be honest. I was content with the Minnesota Timberwolves going 3-3 over this six game stretch of tougher competition. They are well on their way to making me look silly for putting my expectations too low. During the stretch they are 3-1 now and this is without Patrick Beverley, a game without Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaden McDaniels, and without Karl-Anthony Towns in clutch time.
It’s been an impressive run as the team has reached an above .500 record for the first time since they were 3-2 to start out the season.
WOLVES WIN!!!— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 30, 2021
It came out earlier in the day that Jarred Vanderbilt and Jaden McDaniels were on the injury report with flu-like symptoms. As the day went on McDaniels got scratched and Vanderbilt was a game time decision, good to go, and then scratched right as the game began. This opened the door for Josh Okogie to join the starting lineup and that was a blessing in disguise.
Simple put — Josh Okogie brought the energy that the team was sorely missing with Vanderbilt and McDaniels out all game. As he typically does, he made countless hustle plays throughout the game, including a steal against Chris Duarte that ultimately led to a pair of technical fouls and an ejection for the Indiana rookie. He also had the game-winning block that sealed the victory for the Wolves:
Josh Okogie incredible crunch-time block, wow pic.twitter.com/PLyuL0Utxt— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) November 30, 2021
The Wolves started the game on Monday night in a funk — getting confused by the zone look and this resulted in Chris Finch getting crafty. Leandro Bolmaro was the first sub in for the second game in a row and not too soon after him Jaylen Nowell was dusted off and tossed in. At one point Bolmaro was even playing power forward.
Finch gave Nowell a shoutout postgame and said his defense in particular was impressive. It felt like a game where Leandro Bolmaro earned minutes, Josh Okogie earned minutes, and Jaylen Nowell earned minutes. A fantastic problem to have as a team but unfortunately there aren’t nearly enough minutes for everyone.
As the game went on it turned into yet another game where the refs were looking like they’d have a part in a potential Wolves loss as Karl-Anthony Towns fouled out for the second game in a row. Fortunately, D’Angelo Russell stepped up yet again to help keep the Wolves afloat and some gritty defense by Josh Okogie provided the knockout punch that the team needed.
Anthony Edwards on taking a bigger role once KAT got in foul trouble tonight:— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 30, 2021
“Once big fella go out, then you know, it’s time.”
KAT: "We kinda had that Charlotte vibe, energy, loose, too loose. I think the first half stats prove that. We didn’t play to our identity. We came in at halftime we turned up. We played the way we know we’re supposed to."— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) November 30, 2021
Chris Finch on D'Angelo Russell: "He’s playing at a super high level, all aspects of the game. He’s even in there boxing out. He wants the ball at the end, he’s got great confidence he’s going to make the shots, he’s in a heck of a groove right now."— jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) November 30, 2021
Anthony Edwards flip phone just rang during his postgame press conference. He answered it.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) November 30, 2021
Asked if he has a flip phone, he said "yeah, that's my baby"