The 2021-2022 Minnesota Timberwolves season is officially over. Though there were a number of amazing plays and games from both teams, the ending was a bit of a thud for Minnesota. However, as the common message has been circulating, that should not take away from what was a wildly successful and FUN season. I wanted to relive some of the best of times from the season in Canis Pulsus Vol. XVIII, so let’s take a look.
What were your favorite games and memories from this season?
(Note: Canis Pulsus Vol. XVIII data was collected prior to game 4 vs. Grizzlies)
The 5th most voted on game was...
Ant notches career-high 49 points in win over Spurs
In the second to last regular season game, Ant unloaded on Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs. With 8:19 remaining in the game, Edwards had tallied 44 points on just 22 FGA and it looked like he was going to easily cruise to a 50-burger. From there, the Wolves gelled on offense, maintaining a 15-point lead for the majority of the final period. Coach Finch, much like he did with Karl-Anthony Towns’ career night (more on that later), would let the 20-year-old ride it out until he’d hit that arbitrary marker. Unfortunately, Edwards would finish the rest of the game 0 for 6 and only chip in 5 of 6 free throws. You may remember the desperate force feeding that nearly cost the Wolves the game, but when it was all said and done, Minnesota would pick up the W thanks to Ant’s 49 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 steal, on .571/.429/.786 splits. The scariest part is that 49 points seems weirdly low for Ant given his talent.
We’re all left wondering what his next career-high will be, as we’ll likely see it next season.
The 4th most voted on game was...
The Greg Monroe/Nathan Knight game, Nowell goes for 29 to surprise Celtics
In their first game after Christmas, the Wolves were still ravaged with health and safety protocols. They were missing 8 players, including all 5 starters, and headed into a matchup against the (at the time) struggling 16-17 Boston Celtics. The visitors were missing their superstar, Jayson Tatum, and upcoming Defensive Player of the Year, Marcus Smart, but still certainly had the talent edge that night.
That’s what made this game so memorable though.
Minnesota even faced a 12-point deficit early in the 2nd half as it felt like a scheduled loss, with all the excuses in the world. However, though the ensuing comeback was a total team effort, three particular players stood out. In the second half alone, two-way player Nathan Knight went a perfect 6 for 6 from the field (Finishing with 20/11/4), 2nd round draft pick Jaylen Nowell exploded for 19 points including 4 of 5 from perimeter (Finishing with a season-high 29 points), and Greg Monroe. Yes, the 31-year-old veteran in his 10th season in the league, who literally signed a 10-day contract just hours before tip-off. Moose sliced and diced Boston up with a post game that was reminisce of league MVP, Nikola Jokić, in the second half. He would come up short of a triple double, but still help lead his new team with 11 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and 1 new learned name in perhaps the least likely win of the season.
The 3rd most voted on game was...
KAT easily rewrites franchise record with 60 points against Spurs
Just 3 weeks prior to Anthony Edwards’ career-high 49-point performance, Karl-Anthony Towns went nuclear against the very same team. For all intents and purposes, it was nowhere near an early blowout where KAT could easily pad his stats with no pressure. In fact, the Wolves had just a 2-point lead at halftime while Towns had tallied 24 points.
Then came the 3rd quarter.
With 10:29 remaining in the period, the Wolves called a timeout with the game tied. KAT stepped back on to the court and scored 32 points on an array of step back threes, and-1 drives, and perfect 9 of 9 shooting from the stripe. All of that occurred in just 10 minutes and 16 seconds. Oh, and he’d open a 15-point Minnesota lead.
Coach Finch wanted to make sure it was a memorable night for his team and fans alike, putting Towns back in the game for a 4-minute stretch in the final quarter to achieve the mind-boggling 60-point mark, along with 17 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Let this be a reminder of just how special KAT is and what we can expect moving forward.
The 2nd most voted on game was...
Ant drops 33 on Jimmy in Pre-Thanksgiving win over HEAT
After an up-and-down start to the season, the Wolves entered the final game before
Thanksgiving National Day of Mourning on a 4-game win streak. They were 8-9 and had to face their biggest test of this stretch against the visiting Miami HEAT, led by General Soreness himself. The game itself felt like a typical “Old Wolves” scenario, folding under the pressure of a big game as they fell behind 12 points in the 2nd quarter. However, they would slowly crawl back in the second half, even building a brief 6-point lead of their own in the fourth quarter. They would withstand a HEAT run to retake a late lead thanks to the sharpshooting of D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and Karl-Anthony Towns, as a raucous Target Center went wild.
But that wasn’t the story of the game.
The story of the game would be Anthony Edwards. Not only did he have the dunk of the year on a poor Gabe Vincent (I refuse to acknowledge the terribly incorrect charge call), but during the Wolves comeback in the third quarter, Jimmy Butler tried to son Ant by snatching the ball out of his hands during a dead ball situation. Instead of slinking away against Minnesota public enemy #1, the 20-year-old turned around and gave Butler a shove. They would get separated after a seemingly innocuous altercation, but to Wolves fans around the world, it felt more than that. It felt like Ant was assuming the responsibility to exorcise the Timberwolves’ troubled past. Not just with Butler, but from the last decades of failure. Another checkmark to let the world that, “He da one, jack!”
The 1st most voted game was...
D’Lo comes up clutch in double OT thriller over 76ers
The Timberwolves high of taking down Jimmy Butler’s team and getting back to .500 with a 5-game win streak was quickly doused with a wet blanket. An 18-point demolition at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets certainly dulled the excitement of the #WolvesBack campaign. Minnesota had little time to lick their wounds, as they had to travel from Charlotte right up to Philadelphia on the end of a road-road back-to-back. The kicker? Long-time Wolves nemesis, Joel Embiid, would return after a multiple week absence due to COVID-19.
Oh, but it would not be such a sweet return for him.
Minnesota would surprise the Sixers thanks to a perfect 1st half for Karl-Anthony Towns, turning up for 17 points on 7 of 7 shooting, marching out to a 20-point lead at one point. Embiid would be game, proving to shake off his rust in the second half by scoring 19 points to lead a swift Sixers comeback, even taking a late 3-point lead in the final period.
Embiid and Tobias Harris would each split pairs of free throws in the final minute of the game that would’ve gotten them a lead at the end of regulation, though it would still come at the price of KAT fouling out. D’Angelo Russell would then step up to the plate in overtime. D’Lo would hit a pair of desperation three pointers in the final 32 seconds of OT which appeared to have sealed the game for Minnesota. However, as fate would have it, the 76ers would successfully pull off a “make one free throw, miss one, then score the putback” situation at the end of the overtime buzzer.
There’s no way the Wolves could survive a second overtime after that, right?
Wrong. Up 120-119 with 30.9 seconds remaining and the ball, Philadelphia would be in the driver’s seat. That is until D’Lo would read the Sixers play like a children’s book, goading Maxey into a pick-and-roll situation and snatching his drop-off back to Embiid. Russell would find a streaking Taurean Prince down the lane who tossed up a wild left handed layup right past Embiid for the lead, punctuated with a Jim Peterson, “Yes!” call which I’ll forever remember. With 4.8 seconds to try and steal the victory again, Ant would strip Embiid at the three point line before also blocking his last heave to seal the victory. Then we got this moment:
“They had guys that sat out & they thought it was sweet to come back & play against us.— Devin Jones (@devintjones) November 28, 2021
It ain’t sweet.
So, we tryna put the league on notice one game at a time, one win at a time… Never too high. Never too low. Simple as that.”
- D’Angelo Russell
Just a reminder of what a full strength D’Lo is capable of, and hopefully what we can expect more of moving forward.
The 3rd most voted non-basketball memory was...
I think the Wolves are having fun pic.twitter.com/fbbnYCcBY1— mike o’hagan (@mikleohagan) March 8, 2022
Pat Bev shooting t-shirts out of the t-shirt cannon
During a March stretch where the Wolves won 9 of 10 games against (mostly) the doldrums of the league, there was one particular game where Minnesota dominated the tanking Portland Trail Blazers by 43 points. At some point in the fourth quarter, the bench decided to get into the celebrating mood with the rest of the amped up Target Center crowd. With Crunch firing t-shirts into the crowd during a timeout, Patrick Beverley reached over and asked for the cannon. Though he was denied at first, the Wolves entertainment team eventually realized that this meme-worthy moment was too great of fan engagement to pass up, as Crunch eventually passed the machine over.
I’m just looking forward to him firing out “I <3 Pat Bev” shirts next season from jakesgraphs!
The 2nd most voted non-basketball memory was...
Anthony Edwards didn't take questions from reporters until he finished placing an order at McDonalds.— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) February 4, 2022
He ordered a McChicken and said he's sticking to the value menu until he gets his next contract. pic.twitter.com/u63UykVni0
Ant orders McDonalds during a presser
During the first of a two-game series against the Detroit Pistons, the Wolves endured a spirited first half Pistons effort before storming ahead in the third quarter. Anthony Edwards would score 10 of his game-high 25 points in that period which was enough to get Minnesota to the finish line, and work up an appetite apparently. After the game, Ant wouldn’t need to wait for questions before dropping a vintage tasty quote. In fact, he asked for media to hold while he was on his phone placing an order for food. Maybe playing in Little Caesars Arena got him in the mood for fast food, as Edwards ended up completing his order with a McChicken.
I wonder how good Ant will become once he upgrades from McDonalds to Arbys.
The 1st most voted non-basketball memory was...
Hey Jim I’m just challenging our fans to adjust to this special team. If it’s not to much to ask from here on standing until we score to start the game, That would be cool. Love all yaw #Peace https://t.co/YFy1tRyCWq— D'Angelo Russell (@Dloading) February 8, 2022
D’Lo getting the home crowd to stand until the 1st points of the game
Just 72 hours after Ant ordered McDonalds for the world to see, the Wolves went on to win their fourth game in a row by defeating the Detroit Pistons again. This time, the scene of the battle was at Target Center in front a 85% capacity crowd (According to ESPN, though that feels generous if you watched the game). A Sunday night game against one of the worst teams in the league, who were without their number one draft pick, Cade Cunningham, hardly seemed like a reason for the home fans to travel out in frigid conditions. There wasn’t anything spectacular about the win either, though the return of D’Angelo Russell from a minor shin injury was notable. He did contribute to a fourth quarter run to put things away. After the game, D’Lo had some thoughts he wanted to share about the home fans:
D'Angelo Russell on the energy Patrick Beverley was bringing in the second quarter:— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) February 6, 2022
"It forces guys to want to turn their level of competition up, compete. It gets our quiet-ass fans involved, too. So I think it’s good for us to have somebody like him. Kind of wakes people up."
It certainly drew some headlines and murmurs within the Wolves community. Jon Krawczynski did a great job summarizing why some took exception to that comment on The Athletic. It didn’t take long for the cerebral point guard to get the reaction that he wanted though. Fans were soon posting videos of them standing at home until the first Wolves score of the game. The home crowd turnout and participation increased significantly, even bringing back the wave in a game. It started a huge gush of positivity for fans across the world to hop on the celebration bandwagon, all the way till the end. It generated a vibe that’s long been lost in Timberwolves culture for 18 years.
Pat Bev helped light the spark.
Ant and KAT brought the fire.
D’Lo helped stoke it.
My feelings on the direction of the Timberwolves are...
Very optimistic (46.7%)
Previous result: Very optimistic (58.0%)
Not surprising to see the fan base fall back to Earth a bit after a bitter end to their postseason run. That said, there is still plenty of reason for optimism moving into 2022-2023! Never forget - #WolvesBack!
Full voting results:
Thank you all for participating in Canis Pulsus this season! We’ll likely continue this series moving forward. I am always open to criticism and feedback on ways to get your voices heard even more! - Leo