With only Jordan McLaughlin popping up on the injury report, you would think that the Wolves would finally have an opportunity to build on their chemistry as we head into the final 14 games of the season. A tune-up against the lowly Orlando Magic sounds great, right?
You would be mistaken.
After sitting out the previous game, Patrick Beverley looked like he was in for a solid game by forcing a turnover and knocking down two triples. The Wolves would follow his lead and all get hot from perimeter, building a double digit lead in the 1st quarter. Unfortunately, he would catch a stray elbow from 7 footer Mo Bamba that would end his night after just 4 minutes (Labeled as an ear contusion). Minnesota still looked dominant behind the strong play of Karl-Anthony Towns, who threw down a monstrous and-1 dunk.
GROWN MAN'S JAM RIGHT THERE.— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 12, 2022
WHAT A POSTER, @KARLTOWNS pic.twitter.com/ZQCg8MoXxH
It looked like the game would go just as the last 4 games had. The bench was in fine form and stretched the lead a whopping 18 points in the 2nd quarter. Things would start getting interesting though, as the Magic would go on a 17-4 run to get things close again. Most of it came from the form of fouls, as they boasted a 6 to 16 foul call advantage by halftime, doubling the Wolves at the charity stripe. Both KAT and Naz Reid would pick up their 4th fouls of the night just before the half, as the Wolves held on to just a measly 5-point lead.
The 2nd half started similar to the 1st half, as Minnesota drained three pointer after three pointer (5 in a row). KAT would once again drop a huge hammer of a dunk! However, also like the 1st half, that lead would quickly dissipate due to lackadaisical execution on the defensive end. Obviously they had to navigate their foul issues, but things were just way too easy for the Magic. Not only would they get their first lead of the game near the end of the 3rd quarter, but it would quickly balloon to as much as 12 early in the 4th quarter led by former number 1 draft pick, Markelle Fultz (14 points, 3 rebounds, and 7 assists in just 18 minutes).
SECOND POSTER OF THE NIGHT FOR THE BIG MAN❗️ pic.twitter.com/78ZpeXDuxw— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 12, 2022
For whatever reason, Minnesota would continuously tossed up terrible three point attempt after terrible three point attempt. It seemed like a classic case of “trying to get it all back with 1 shot.” It appeared that Coach Finch would finally get through to his team after a timeout, as they would turn up the defensive intensity and take anything than a three pointer. The Wolves late push would get them all the way back within 1 with 3:13 still left in the game, but as if they had the memory of a goldfish, they would all collectively let the rope go again by inaccurately bombing away from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Mo Bamba would ice the game late with an astonishing 27 point (5/8 from 3), 12 rebound performance.
DEFENSE ➡️ OFFENSE! pic.twitter.com/sql0sS9Hh6— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 12, 2022
Absolutely terrible performance by the Wolves who will have an even tougher test tomorrow in Miami. Though it’s just one game, there is no way this version of the Wolves even deserve a 6th seed.
Ant hit a pull-up 3 with 8:17 left in 3rd quarter.— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) March 12, 2022
It was the last 3 the Wolves hit in the game.
0 for 18 to finish after hitting 15 of their 1st 27 (56%).
Omega - Jaden McDaniels
Big Mac looked solid out there once again. He did his part and finished the night with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 3 blocks while playing 32 minutes. He missed his only 3PA of the night.
Delta - Karl-Anthony Towns
KAT’s final box score numbers of 21 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks look nice, but his perimeter shot was not there and instead of taking advantage in the paint, he looked to shoot his way out of his slump (like everyone else). He certainly lost the duel against Mo Bamba and/or Wendell Carter Jr.
Beta - Anthony Edwards
Ant’s jumper looks like it’s starting to come back together. He looked explosive going to the rim and finished as the Wolves leading scorer. His line of 25 points (4/11 from 3), 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal was the best of the night. Still would have liked to see him attack the rim more, as he was 5 of 8 on 2PA and also a culprit of poor shot selection late.
that's what you call an...— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 12, 2022
Alpha - Jaylen Nowell
Why he only played 13 minutes is beyond me. He was a perfect 5 of 5 from the field, posting 12 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 assists.
professional bucket getter, @JaylenNowell pic.twitter.com/Kb87ERuMmz— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 12, 2022
Canis Hoopus Comment of the Night
The Wolves will travel 230 miles south to visit Gabe Vincent’s Miami HEAT tomorrow, Saturday 3/12 @ 7:00pm CT. The only other time these two teams played this season, we saw Vincent get his life saved by the zebras after Anthony Edwards nearly retired him mid-game. It was the day before Thanksgiving and the Wolves walked away with a 113-101 victory in front of a raucous Target Center. Miami is also the end of a back-to-back after playing Cleveland Cavaliers tonight.