Though the quality of the Timberwolves opponent was higher that yesterday’s game against the Orlando Magic, tonight’s game against the Miami HEAT felt eerily similar.
Minnesota sprinted out of their blocks with some hot shooting early to take a double-digit lead in the 1st quarter, just to watch it eviscerated in one quarter due to Karl-Anthony Towns’ foul trouble (3 fouls in just 9 minutes of play) and poor offensive decision-making. Jaylen Nowell was effective once again, scoring 12 points early, but the rest of the bench did not follow his lead. Coach Chris Finch made it a point to get him as many minutes as possible.
Coach Finch on Jaylen Nowell: "I was mad at myself last night, I didn't play Jaylen enough (last night)."— Leo S (@Y0Leo) March 13, 2022
"I couldn't get it out of my head."
Meanwhile, though Miami started off 0 for 9 from perimeter, the play of Tyler Herro and Max Strus single-handedly fixed that as they combined to go 7 of 12 from beyond in just the first half alone. The Wolves suddenly found themselves down 17 points due to a 25-42 2nd quarter drubbing. An early 2nd half hot streak by the Wolves would manage to get them within 3, but another offensive foul on KAT (his 4th) and continued careless play by D’Angelo Russell (5 turnovers) would allow for Miami to get comfortably back ahead. It felt like things were shaping up for the Wolves to irresponsibly fire away from deep to try to quickly fix things like yesterday. Would Minnesota take the bait and get desperate?
This is the New Wolves we’re talking about.
The self-proclaimed “best bench in the league” would show us something. Former Iowa Wolves teammates Jordan McLaughlin and Naz Reid put together a helluva stretch to bridge the final two quarters of the game, punctuated by a timely buzzer beating shot by Taurean Prince.
12-3 RUN TO END THE THIRD QUARTER!! pic.twitter.com/6tqoNUXrAB— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 13, 2022
The final 12 minutes of the game would be a hard fought slog by both teams. There were over 15 ties/lead changes as neither team shot better than 30% shooting from the field. The 3-point shooting, which got Miami their lead, abandoned them when they needed it most. The HEAT would go just 3 of 12 from distance in the 4th quarter including a number of them that barely rattled out. The Wolves were clinging on to a 2-point lead with less than a minute to go when we got the biggest moment of the night.
CLUTCH BEAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/4QTWPEr0Ez— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 13, 2022
Anthony Edwards on when he saw Beasley about to shoot the final shot: "Aw, this game over."— Leo S (@Y0Leo) March 13, 2022
Yes. It was over.
It was an improbable victory in which the Wolves overcame so much. Second night of a road-road back-to-back (!!!). Out 2 starters in Pat Bev & Vando. KAT dealing with early foul trouble. Faced a 17-point deficit. Yet some way, somehow, the New Wolves™ showed their Sam Cassells when it mattered most. It was certainly an incredible effort from every single player (8 players scored in double digits) who played and the coaching staff. With the Denver Nuggets dropping a game at home to the Raptors tonight, that leaves Minnesota just 1.5 games back from the 6th seed.
KAT said Finch let them have it in the film session after Orlando:— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) March 13, 2022
"Finch is coaching, man. He’s a hell of a coach, man. In my eyes, one of the best in the NBA right now. Love that man. That man’s done so much for our team and I just think that the players responded to him."
At one point tonight, I was fearing that we were getting the Old Wolves, who desperately needed fixing. Instead...
Yeezus and Black Jesus were in the same room.— Leo S (@Y0Leo) March 13, 2022
This result should be no surprise. pic.twitter.com/G6WRrdeaYM
(Yo, NBA.com, why is General Soreness on this thumbnail when he was very obviously ducking Ant?)
Omega - Taurean Prince
As mentioned above, you could find something useful that almost every player contributed tonight (Shoutout Josh Okogie’s 25 seconds of guarding Tyler Herro). That said, I want to give a shoutout to TP for hitting some timely shots including one of coolest shots of the night. He finished with 11 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal in 22 minutes.
Taurean Prince hits the reverse with a hand in his face— NBA (@NBA) March 13, 2022
Watch on NBA League Pass: https://t.co/oz9UCQxdQa pic.twitter.com/2ibFJsuNGX
Delta - Anthony Edwards
Ant put together an all-around game tonight without the scoring explosion that we’ve become accustomed to seeing from him. His 15 points, 8 rebound, 5 assist, 3 steal, and 1 block performance was highlighted by some clutch free throw shooting (4/4) to help ice things. Black Jesus was in the building from the beginning.
FLIGHT A1 pic.twitter.com/7EMYFIBoaV— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 13, 2022
Beta - Jaylen Nowell
The showcase of one of the best bucket getters in the league continued tonight. Jaylen has stayed ready when his number has been called and with the blessing of his coach, he put up 16 points and 1 assist in 21 minutes tonight. He’s rightfully earned the trust of his teammates and coaches as he continues to lay to waste any defender in his path.
you guessed it...— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 13, 2022
drop the below pic.twitter.com/rJwJZIfnbT
Alpha - Malik Beasley
Game ball goes to the greatest shooter in Timberwolves history. Okay, maybe we’re not all the way there yet, but we got Good Malik tonight and when we get Good Malik, it’s a good night for everyone. He took all three pointers again (4 of 9) and finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, a game-high +20, and 1 dagger.
Malik Beasley on his final shot: "I saw Ant drive and my guy help... Usually the 2nd pass is where t he shot comes from. Once it went to TP, I knew it was my time."— Leo S (@Y0Leo) March 13, 2022
"The shot before that I hit the side of the backboard so my mindset was that I was gonna make the next one."
Canis Hoopus Comment of the Night
The Wolves 3-game road trip ends versus the San Antonio Spurs on Monday 3/14 @ 7:30pm CT. Despite their 26-41 record, the all-time most NBA wins coach Gregg Popovich has gotten a lot out of his young All-Star point guard, Dejounte Murray. They’re still clawing for a play-in spot, just 1.5 GB from the 10th seed after they lost to the Indiana Pacers tonight. Murray sat with a calf contusion.
As NBW noted in the game thread, the Wolves can earn a .500 road record with a win in San Antonio!
The Miami Heat after getting swept this season by the Timberwolves pic.twitter.com/PbD3XdNRWC— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) March 13, 2022