After getting roasted by the Los Angeles Clippers three times already this season, the Minnesota Timberwolves had enough. In a game where the Wolves were still out Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell for hopefully the last time of the season due to health & safety protocols, they managed to lead for all but the first 5:49 minutes of the game. The stars weren’t necessarily out for either team on this first Monday of 2022, but the moon certainly was. Well, Xavier Moon at least.
Seriously though, the 10-day contract signee did have himself an amazing 3:40 minute stretch to start the 4th quarter, posting 9 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. His heroics nearly brought the Clippers back into a game they had no business being in. Enter: Pat Bev. He nearly single-handedly stomped out any embers of a comeback for the Clippers with an amazing 5-point possession. First he earned, not drew, a flagrant foul from James Ennis. While the play was being reviewed, he high-fived his former employer and ungodly wealthy man, Steve Ballmer, in the front row. After cashing in 2 free throws, he would immediately get a 3-point play on Mr. Moon himself. Pat just simply would not allow the Wolves to lose for a fourth time this season against a team who felt he was no longer a necessity.
“Put the damn broomsticks away!” Patrick Beverley, 2022 (probably).
Did Patrick Beverley feel like everything he brought to the table with the Clippers was always appreciated? pic.twitter.com/4z3M8RkgbA— jace frederick (@JaceFrederick) January 4, 2022
Credit where credit is due. The rest of the active Minnesota roster came and played hard on the back end of a road back-to-back. In fact, 6 players all scored in double figures (2 others with 8 points). For a team that leads the NBA in 3PA and ranks near the bottom third in 3P%, the pendulum finally swung in the Wolves favor. That’s what really helped the Wolves pull away from the Clippers in the 2nd quarter, especially in a sequence where Jaden McDaniels knocked in 3 triples in a row. Minnesota outshot LA, finishing 16 of 45 from perimeter and a sterling 52.7% from the field. The shot-making also boded well for their assist numbers, as Coach Finch seemed much happier in the postgame presser.
Coach Finch on 6 players scoring in double digits: "The ball movement was great, for the most part... It was evidenced by the (35) assists, probably a season-high. I thought Pat Beverley did a great job setting the tone."— Leo S (@Y0Leo) January 4, 2022
For the first time in a while, it looked and felt like the opponent was the more unavailable and disengaged team out there. Los Angeles had just beaten the Brooklyn Nets two days ago on a game winner by Terance Mann and it appeared as though they were still hungover from the celebration. Sure, they shot 50% from the field, but they also turned the ball over 20 times, 17 of them coming in the first 3 quarters of the game where it got out of hand. But hey, a wins a win no matter how undermanned the opponent may be. It was a fun night of basketball and hopefully the start of a long string of victories ahead.
Omega - Jaden McDaniels & Jaylen Nowell
Just when it looked like Big Mac stock was crashing, I’m right back at the drive through ordering a pair of them for $5.00. Jaden looked great tonight, hitting a number of timely threes as mentioned earlier. He was sharp, finishing the night with 18 points (7/10 FG), 4 triples, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. I also want to share part of this spotlight with Jaylen Nowell, who still contributed 8 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and a massive dunk despite an off shooting night.
BIG SHOT FOR BIG MAC. pic.twitter.com/MQOgk8NzuO— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 4, 2022
JAYLEN NOWELL POSTER pic.twitter.com/SmNZMuPgBC— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 4, 2022
Delta - Taurean Prince
We got “Game Winner vs 76ers” TP tonight. He contributed on both ends of the court throughout the game, as evidenced by his 17 point, 4 rebound, 3 assist, 2 steal, and 1 block line. Prince discussed at length in his post game presser about how he’s continuing to grind, accrediting his recent success to his coaches and teammates. It’s been said before, but this version of Prince would be a huge boost to the Wolves chances at making the playoffs.
Beta - Anthony Edwards
It looked like it was going to be another rough night for Ant. He turned the ball over early and often again, mostly getting stripped on his way to the rim. More concerning was his defensive effort which earned him some time on the pine. However, never lacking for confidence, you knew that he would inevitably rebound. His perimeter stroke was on (Game-high 5 threes) as he led the Wolves with 28 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 stocks.
Asked Edwards if he can appreciate the coaching even in heated moments.— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) January 4, 2022
"For sure. That’s why I said he right. I get mad, but he right. At the end of the day I can’t do nothing but take the constructive criticism and come back and show him that I can do it."
Alpha - Patrick Beverley
Multiple teammates shared after the game that Pat Bev really wanted this one against his former team and boy was it evident. He double-doubled in just 21 minutes tonight, scoring 11 points with 3 rebounds, 12 assists (career-high), and 2 steals. Pat was especially snappy with anyone standing in his warpath tonight, including myself when I asked him about his health, and now I feel like I can run through a brick wall.
I asked Patrick Beverley how he feels like his body's holding up after playing 21 minutes tonight. His response:— Leo S (@Y0Leo) January 4, 2022
"How do I look? How do you feel? Don't jinx me now. C'mon, don't ask questions like that."
The Wolves return home for a quick single home game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday (1/5) at 7:00pm CT. This game is setting up to be the return game for Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and even Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, so grab your popcorn!