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Wolves 100, Pacers 98: Minnesota Breaks .500 With a Win Over Indiana

For the first time since October, the Wolves moved back over .500 in the Western Conference standings.

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Minnesota Timberwolves David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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:

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.

Postgame Quotes

Game Highlights