It wasn’t really that close, guys.
The Minnesota Timberwolves came into Houston a 13.5 point favorite, and played as such. There was plenty to be desired on the defensive end out of both teams, ESPECIALLY at the end of the fourth quarter when Houston crawled back in, but the differentiator being a more methodical offense on the side of Minnesota.
Moral of the story? The better team won. The Wolves were able to spread the Rockets out and attack in multiple ways. Anthony Edwards got it rolling early, and KAT got it done down low in the second half with an advantageous 1 on 1 matchup against Alperen Şengün.
For the fellow Timberwolves sickos who watched this along with me and kept the Grammys off your TV, I thought I would maybe combine both events in one...
Best Game: Anthony Edwards
“We knew we were probably going to be able to generate anything we wanted,” Chris Finch said after the game.
That could not have proven to be truer for Edwards. Whatever ups and downs the second half of the season has brought Ant with his knee, this was a vintage game of his. He scored 8 of the Wolves first 15, with confidence brimming from a couple threes early to get him going...and open up some lanes.
Edwards finished the game with 33. In his last five quarters of basketball, he’s scored 47 on 65% shooting.
Most Improved (from last game): Josh Okogie
Going from a DNP to giving solid minutes off the bench counts as improvement...right? It was the fourth game of a looooooong road trip, and Okogie brought the energy that was needed. “We put a lot of faith in JO,” KAT said. “It feels good to be able to let the dog loose when we wanna let the dog loose”.
Just a real professional effort tonight from Josh Okogie. Giving up his body, playing like the game is close, not taking anything for granted— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) April 4, 2022
The funniest part is, the game actually got a little close for comfort towards the end. While Okogie is not an every night rotation player, the energy was necessary, and his 11 points certainly didn’t hurt in a seven-point win.
Most Impactful: Karl-Anthony Towns
KAT had his fingerprints on every part of the game when he was in. He was really solid rebounding the basketball, got under the bucket and got to his spots with ease, and dished out five assists.
Anthony Edwards cutting dunk, assisted by Karl-Anthony Towns pic.twitter.com/JdINbBCfg0— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) April 3, 2022
I mentioned it above, but the Rockets had absolutely no way to guard KAT completely. They tried Şengün early 1 on 1, which started to become a disaster, brought help which spurred assists, and didn’t have a way of doing much further when KAT got into the deep post. Overall dominance in this one, packaged as an average statline for his standards.
I wonder how many people outside of Minnesota know that Karl-Anthony Towns has been doing all of this since the All Star break without shooting 3s.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) April 4, 2022
KAT is 7th on the Wolves in 3-point attempts per game since All Star, and 11th if you go by 3-point volume per minute played.
Best Off The Bench: Jordan McLaughlin
Please participate in this poll, there is only one correct answer:
Who's the better 3pt shooter in 2022?— Leo S (@Y0Leo) April 3, 2022
In his last six games, McLaughlin is shooting, ahem, 71.4% from three (10 of 14). Shooting is just an added bonus. McLaughlin’s ability to speed up or slow down the game seems lately to be a switch he simply flips on and off, and Finch raved about his intelligence and purpose that he continues to play with.
Chris Finch said postgame that he made a mistake by not playing Jordan McLaughlin enough tonight.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) April 4, 2022
Finch said there's no reason to not be playing one of their best players for only 13 minutes.
“He’s a special player with the way he controls the pace of the game,” KAT said. Despite playing just the 13 minutes, McLaughlin dominated the +/- category for Minnesota with a +11. Pretty impressive, considering two members of the starting five were on the other side of the stat, and Jarred Vanderbilt had the highest of that starting group with a +7.
The Wolves won’t be playing another road game for the rest of the regular season, and it’ll be much needed. After a road trip of Boston, Toronto, Denver, and Houston, a motley crew of cities, they’re back at Target Center for a Tuesday date with the middling Wizards.