After a magical performance down in Orlando, the Minnesota Timberwolves looked to continue doing something Tuesday night in Detroit that they couldn’t do earlier in the season — win two games in a row.
Let’s get right to it...
When you consider what we all watched for a majority of the winter/spring, it’s hard not to simply jump into the “Good” section and say “everything!”
Sure, the Wolves were playing against yet another team with a depleted deck of cards, and yeah, they had their fair share of defensive lapses to start the third quarter, but again — do you remember what the on-court product looked like back in January and February?
A simple glance at the box score from Tuesday night’s win shows that this team is humming offensively, led by their “Big Three” of Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Anthony Edwards. KAT led the way against the Pistons, finishing the night with 28 points (10-of-19 shooting), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. While the ability to score the ball has always come naturally to Karl, his increased playmaking under head coach Chris Finch has been one of the bigger revelations this season, and gives this team another dimension to build around going forward.
Karl dishing out more dimes than the U.S. Mint. pic.twitter.com/5cqCxxk3Tw— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) May 12, 2021
Speaking of playmaking, D’Angelo Russell continued his extremely strong stretch of play tonight, handing out a team high 10 assists, including this absurd dish to Jordan McLaughlin:
Oh yeah, he also had this between-the-legs pass to the one and only NAZ REID:
In addition to 10 assists, Russell finished with 15 points, 3 steals, and 1 block. Over their last eight games, the Wolves are 5-3 and during that stretch, D-Lo is averaging 9.2 assists per game. In today’s NBA, having multiple guys on the court who can not only get their own shot anytime they want but can also get good looks for their teammates is crucial, and it’ll be really fascinating to see how Chris Finch continues to design his offense going forward to best suit his two max players.
Not to be outdone, the Wolves other main PG (Ricky Rubio) had himself a night as well, finishing with 19 points (8-of-14 shooting), 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. With Russell and Towns doing most of the heavy lifting on Tuesday (in terms of assisting), Rubio seamlessly transitioned into The Scoring Spaniard, connecting on multiple corner threes while also getting to the rim with ease. As mentioned earlier, this entire team is really humming right now, and the smoothness in which the offense is flowing is really helping more streaky scorers like Rick.
Last but not least — it was a rather “quiet” night for Anthony Edwards, who finished with 22 points (7-of-16 shooting), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. ANT didn’t play bad by any means, he just wasn’t needed in a game where the entire starting lineup was sharing the wealth, which is wild in and of itself to say. The former Georgia Bulldog did have THIS semi-highlight early in the first quarter, where he almost ended another opponent at the rim:
Anthony Edwards is getting more athletic...— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) May 11, 2021
As previously mentioned, Minnesota’s last two opponents showed up to the arena at less than full strength, but anyone who has watched this team all year knows that the Wolves have shown a propensity to play down to the level of competition all year (and many years before this one). With that said, it was refreshing to see them get out of the gate early, put Detroit in the rearview mirror, and never really look back.
The Pistons did come out after halftime with a quick 10-0 run to try and claw back, which gave sick humans like myself severe PTSD of countless Wolves games of the past, but unlike THOSE teams, Minnesota quickly responded to push the lead back up to 16 as they coasted to their second straight victory.
This was officially my last game recap of this season, so unfortunately for the haters, I have nothing “Bad” to say. Yeah, the Wolves’ bench didn’t show much life against the Pistons (outside of NAZ REID of course), but when your starters combine for 91 points and the opponent’s entire team scores 100, you don’t need more than a couple free throws and a dunk to seal the game.
I know I’ve said this countless times, but I cannot thank each and every one of you for continuing to visit Canis Hoopus, support our staff, and keeping our little Internet community thriving. I don’t exactly know what the future holds for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but I feel more confident than ever that despite what happens in the 2021 NBA Lottery, this team may finally be headed in the right direction (feel free to roast me in the comments, I deserve it).
Have a great rest of your week, y’all.