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Oklahoma City Thunder v Minnesota Timberwolves
Someone call the fire department, the nets are burning from Beasley threes.
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Wolves 132, Thunder 102: The flame-throwing Malik Beasley has arrived and the bench Mardi Gras continues

Beasley has worked his way back into a dynamic offensive weapon

MINNEAPOLIS — A true man of the people, Malik Beasley almost provided free Beef ‘N Cheddar’s to the Wolves faithful all by himself on Wednesday night against OKC.

Needing 12 threes to unlock the season-long promo, Beasley hit 11 treys and in the process set a single-game franchise record that Anthony Edwards, 10, previously set this season when he ripped the Denver Nuggets for 38 points.

If people were asking “Where’s the Beas?” earlier in the year during his ice-cold shooting stretches, they aren’t wondering anymore. He’s been locked in from deep as of late—since February 1, in 15 games, Beasley is shooting a blistering 46.7% on 8 attempts per game from deep—and now the record is his to hold.

“They should’ve known I’m a shooter,” said Beasley, with a subtle smirk.

He started the night scorching hot in place of usual starter Patrick Beverley and never relented in the Wolves 132-102 blowout win over the directionless Thunder.

D’Angelo Russell was yelling “30! 30! 30 ball” in the first quarter after Beasley’s fourth triple in the opening frame, as he watched the shooting show from the stationary bike behind the bench to stay loose. The very next possession Beasley nailed his fifth trey and he wasn’t done there. Six treys and 18 points for Threesley in the first had the crowd going wild and plenty of people wondering if this was another record-breaking shooting night.

He walked to the bench with a stone-cold look on his face, completely locked in. After five more threes, he finished the night 11-18 from deep, scoring 33 points on 97.1% true shooting. The record was all his. Per StatMuse, that’s the most three-pointers in a game without taking a two-pointer in NBA history. Anthony Edwards, back from a four-game absence to rest his ailing knee, said he told Beasley in the third quarter he almost had his record.

“His last one was cold,” said Edwards. “I’m trying to get some water to pour on his ass right now,” Edwards said to longtime Wolves radio play-by-play announcer Alan Horton after the win. Then he raced over to dump it on Beasley with the help of Russell to soak him for the second time in celebration.

“He didn’t even know though [during the game]. I told him, I said ‘Beas, you know I got the record for ten threes in a game. I was like just make two more bro, you got the record.’ I love to see my brothers shine.”

A rough couple of months, Beasley is now getting back to his old self.

“[Beasley’s] a tough kid, both mentally and physically, and he battled through. I think early on in the season, he was probably a little bit more deflated that he wasn’t a starter than he would admit,” said coach Chris Finch.

“I think that may have affected it, and then I thought he didn’t probably come into camp in the best shape, that may have affected it. And then when he misses shots now, it’s a confidence thing, so he hung in there. We’ve been able to find line-ups that really can extenuate the ball movement, which helps all shooters, and he’s done a really good job at guarding, and rebounding, and doing a lot of other little things too, which has earned him longer runs on the floor, in general.”

Beasley said once he told himself he was the best bench player in the entire league, things started to change.

“It was a great moment,” said Beasley. “Like I said before the game, we have a great team, and teammates who care about each other, so that was huge to be a part of that.”

Aaron Wiggins kept the Thunder alive in the first half for as long they could keep their heads above the Wolves tsunami, leading them with 25 points and nine rebounds. A night after going for 33 points, 14 dimes, and 8 rebounds in a loss to Milwaukee, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looked like he forgot his superstar game somewhere along the way to Minneapolis. He started 1-8 and finished 2-15 in one of his worst games of the season. Isaiah Roby, though a promising youngster in his own right, was once again thrown into the Try To Defend Karl-Anthony Towns Fire that has proven to be an absurd and losing proposition this season when the two teams face off.

As Chris Finch said yesterday, it’s hard to evaluate a young team like the Thunder when they are this bad at 20-46. “I don’t know how you evaluate some of these young teams when they’re just all young players out there, because the roles are too varied and there’s probably too much freedom at times, and who knows what anyone is trying to do.”

Both Jarred Vanderbilt and Beverley sat out to rest, as both players have dealt with nagging injuries, though nobody could use the rest quite like Vando as Finch noted.

“Vando needed a break more than anybody; his leg just kind of won’t loosen up for him right now. For everyone to step up and play so well and give us not just a good performance but a margin of victory which allows us to rest even more. A lot of times what happens is you have some guys that out for injuries and now the load starts to pile up on everyone else who is playing. Fortunately, we’ve been able to kind of get rest within the games.”

Of course, not being in uniform never stops Beverley from making his impact felt. He was yelling to J-Mac, who was guarding Theo Maledon, “he can’t dribble, Mac, he can’t dribble, Mac.” Later in the night he once again took part in the wave with the fans, and although his attempt failed, he did ask to shoot the t-shirt cannon again.

It was another party at Target Center as the Wolves won their sixth game in a row, something that hasn’t happened since 2004. “I was three years old,’ said Edwards.

“It looks like Mardi Gras sometimes at the end of my bench,” Finch quipped about the now reoccurring fourth-quarter blowout celebrations that are taking place. Beverley was urging D’Angelo to get back on the bike and call it a night. “Get on your bike,” Beverley joked. Towns walked over to Beasley to clarify that “D-Lo dumped the Gatorade,” on him, not Towns, and the team's camaraderie and togetherness were once again on display as they cheered crazily along with everyone else in the building after Beasley’s eleventh triple swished through the net. This night was all about Beas.

Drenched during his postgame on-court interview, Beasley continued to hype the crowd up. “We just getting started. We just getting started.” He also once famously said that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” but that it will be built soon enough in Minnesota. With another victory under their belt—now at 38 wins and 29 losses—everyone can see the progress and construction will promisingly continue with the squad thriving these days.

For months, this was the type of flame-throwing Malik Beasley who had disappeared, but the one who could also immediately raise the ceiling of his group. He’s arrived at the perfect time. As Taurean Prince—another bench player that’s found his groove after a slow start to the season—said, “I think it’s perfect, really. Who else better for it to happen for.” Beasley wasn’t himself coming into the season, he acknowledged it, worked hard on his body and his craft, and now he’s back to lighting nets on fire.

Six wins in a row. A new record from deep. Let the Wolves' Mardi Gras continue.