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Wolves 106, Thunder 103: Ice Ice Baby

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Minnesota wins an ugly game

Minnesota Timberwolves v Oklahoma City Thunder Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images

Well, that was certainly an NBA basketball game that the Minnesota Timberwolves won!

Oklahoma City was down to just 8 eligible/healthy players, which clearly swung things in favor of Minnesota in the first game of this baseball style series, and Minnesota actually took advantage of that. The Thunder won most of the minutes where starters were in the game, but Minnesota’s bench won the game for them tonight. Every Minnesota bench player had a positive +/-, and every starter had a negative one.

Single game plus-minus is noisy, but I think that illustrates just how important Jake Layman and Jaylen Nowell were in particular.

To be clear, this wasn’t pretty. It was a weird, weird game, and Minnesota nearly threw the ball away to lose the game before OKC panicked, giving D’Angelo Russell the last shot, which he drilled to give the Wolves a much needed win.

It was a rough night for Anthony Edwards (3-14 from the field), but Malik Beasley carried Minnesota for much of the early portion of the game.

While the win was nice, it’s worth noting again just how embarrassingly poor Minnesota’s play was in the fourth quarter. It really was the same old story as the other embarrassing losses, except for Russell’s shot at the end.

On that note, good for D’Angelo Russell. We’ve been hard on him, but he came through for the Wolves in a big spot tonight, drilling a three with less than three seconds left to break a 103-103 tie. Ice in his veins, indeed.

My only complaint there would be that Minnesota ran absolutely nothing down the stretch, and just relied upon Russell hitting a relatively tough shot to win it.

He hit it tonight, but it would’ve been nice to see them run something a little more structured and dynamic at the end of the game.

One other quick thing to note is that Josh Okogie was benched for the second half, finishing with only nine minutes played. It’s been a rough go of it recently for Okogie, and he lost his minutes tonight.

In the end, though, a win is a win, and Minnesota can pick up a second straight win tomorrow to get the momentum going in the right direction.

Go Wolves.