What an awesome win. The Timberwolves had not won both legs of a back-to-back since roughly the Stone Age, and have now put that to rest following perhaps their most complete performance of the year.
Up and down the roster, Minnesota got noteworthy contributions that helped them win tonight, and that made tonight so much fun.
It all starts with the big fella, Karl-Anthony Towns. The Warriors had no chance guarding KAT one-on-one, regardless of if it was Kevon Looney or the poor rookie Jonathan Kuminga. Towns went for an easy 39 points, much to the chagrin of himself and Anthony Edwards, who was cheering from the sidelines tonight.
It was a pleasure to watch Towns up close and personal tonight, as he just dominated from the top of the key. Everyone knows about how big of a threat he is as a shooter from there, but his ability as a driver in those situations is what makes him truly unique. He gashed the interior defense of Golden State tonight by taking driving past and through whoever was in front of him. He was sensational.
With Ant out, D-Lo was the lone co-star tonight, and he more than filled his role. He ran the show effectively, even while being hounded by Gary Payton II for much of the evening. His stability to get the team into their sets is one of his most valuable traits. He ultimately finished with 22 points and 7 assists, good-not-great numbers, but his fingerprints were all over the game.
Aside from the two stars, the game balls have to go to Jordan McLaughlin and Malik Beasley.
McLaughlin has shown a Tyus-like ability to just make the Wolves better when he’s on the floor. He pushes the pace both off of a make or in transition, getting the Wolves into their sets earlier, and setting up easier shots for his teammates. He seemingly never makes a mistake, and always makes the right pass. He is a coaches dream, and his teammates have total trust in him to make the right play, as they should. J-Mac was a game-high +17 tonight.
He also spent much of the evening chasing Steph Curry around. Steph still got his (34 points), but McLaughlin, and the Wolves collectively, defended him well. He wasn’t very efficient, and he had to work his ass off for each and every point. Truthfully, I was surprised at how well J-Mac held up on Curry. When asked about what made the defense so strong tonight, Chris Finch simply replied, “Jordan McLaughlin.”
For Beasley, the shots are just starting to fall, and it’s fun to remember what a hot Malik Beasley is like. He is a flamethrower. He is the kind of player that can win you a game with his shot-making ability. He’s been on the upswing of late, and that continued tonight with a 20-point performance that included six made threes. He is an x-factor for this team that can absolutely swing a playoff game when he’s on. That’s just another weapon for Finch to play with.
In all, it’s hard to say too many good things about this performance. The defense showed up, and the offense kept the lead at a safe distance. Target Center was packed, it was loud, and the fans were rewarded with some damn good basketball. The Wolves have now managed to start 3-1 out of the All-Star Break against four really good teams. It won’t always be this pretty, but this team is certainly headed in the right direction.
We talked bout this 4-game gauntlet coming out of the All-Star break...— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) March 2, 2022
Thu vs. MEM -- W119-114
Fri vs. PHI -- L133-102
Mon @ CLE -- W127-122
Tue vs. GSW --W129-114
3-1 vs. those teams, with 2 back-to-backs...impressive.
Karl-Anthony Towns: "We understand the history our team has, so we have to change the way people perceive us."— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) March 2, 2022