The Minnesota Timberwolves just wrapped up their second of two games against the Detroit Pistons and came away with another win. That win pushes the Timberwolves to a 28-25 record, 3 games above .500 for the first time this season.
While the game was wasn’t the prettiest, we saw the defense hold up better than it has of late. Much of that has to do with he opponent being very bad offensively, but still they played better on that end than they did on Thursday against the same Pistons squad.
Cade Cunningham was a game-time decision for the Wolves, but ended up being ruled out prior to tip.
This afternoon’s Wolves game got off to a slow start. Neither team could build much of a lead with neither team garnering a lead larger than single digits through 36 minutes. After the 3rd quarter, the Wolves biggest lead was 8 and the Pistons was 5. The Wolves finally got a double digit lead with just over 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.
The largest lead held by Minnesota was 13, which happened about midway through the 4th and also again when the final horn sounded. While the game didn’t tilt too much either direction over the course of it, it never really felt like the Wolves were in danger of dropping this one. I’d say that has been a huge difference between this team and the ones of the past. Fans, players, and coaches seem to have more confidence that this team will do what they need to to pull out wins, and I might push that to say it has become an expectation.
Anthony Edwards was a culprit of the slow start, most likely due to the fact that this game tipped-off around his typical afternoon nap time. He ended the game with 17 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists. However, he didn’t score his first points until he played 13 minutes. Slow afternoon for him, but again, the keyword is “afternoon”.
Putting on a Show
Karl-Anthony Towns had himself a good game. He scored 24 points, pulled down 12 rebound, and ended with 2 assists. He did not get a single free throw attempt in this game, despite the physical inside defense by Isaiah Stewart and company.
In his return to action after missing 4 games due to a shin contusion, D’Angelo Russell had a solid showing. He continued his impressive shooting since the turn of the new year, shooting 3 for 7 from deep. He ended the night scoring 22 points, grabbing 5 rebounds, and dishing out 8 assists while only turning it over once.
Perhaps the brightest star of the night was Malik Beasley. He hit three threes in a 1 minute 15 second span in the second quarter. He ended the game shooting 5 for 9 from deep and scoring 20 points. He also had a nice dunk, which is a sight for sore eyes.
Beasley also ended the night with 9 rebounds, helping the Wolves outrebound the Pistons 51-47.
Jordan McLaughlin had himself a nice afternoon as well. His 4/4/4 stat line doesn’t scream effectiveness, but he ended as a +14, second highest behind Beasley on the team, and that matched the eye test. The Wolves have needed some second unit playmaking, so maybe McLaughlin is the answer to finding that going forward.
Patrick Beverley played a huge role in getting the team some energy on this lowkey Sunday afternoon.
Throughout the course of the game, the Wolves saw a number of players hit the deck with injuries. First was Jarred Vanderbilt who went down in the middle of the 1st quarter. Luckily, he was able to shake it off and play his normal minutes in the game today.
Taurean Prince also went down in the first quarter. He ended up going back to the locker room a couple times before being ruled out for the rest of the game with a left ankle sprain. Chris Finch did not have any updates on the injury post-game.
The final Wolf to hit the deck writhing in pain was Naz Reid. It’s not really clear what he hurt, but he did not re-enter the game after going down in the 4th. According to Coach Finch, Naz asked to stay in the game before being subbed out. Perhaps that is a good sign that he did not get too hurt.
The Wolves entered the game in 7th in the Western Conference standings, just one game behind the Nuggets for 6th. With both the Wolves and Nuggets winning tonight, Minnesota remains a game back from Denver for the 6th seed.
The Wolves are, at the time of writing, 7.5 games ahead of the 10th seed, keeping themselves firmly in the play-in and potentially pushing themselves into the playoffs altogether.