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Wolves 129, Rockets 117: Ant Dunks and Leads the Wolves to a Much Needed Win

Timberwolves make light work of a young Rockets team and cruise to a much needed victory.

Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images

Early in this one, the Timberwolves and Rockets looked like they wee competing to see which team could play the least amount of defense as the first quarter closed with a score of 40-34 in favor of the Timberwolves. The young Houston Rockets squad was hitting shots and playing with energy, which has often spelled disaster for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

It was nice to see Anthony Edwards finally throw down his first dunk this season during the first frame.

As the second quarter rolled around, the Wolves decided to put in a bit more effort on the defensive end. That, coupled with a bunch of missed shots, led to the Wolves outscoring Houston by 13 in the frame and they took a 19 point advantage to the locker room at the break.

Things seemed to make more sense with Kyle Anderson starting in place of Rudy Gobert, who entered the league’s Health and Safety Protocols earlier on Saturday. The ball movement from the first unit was the best it has been so far this season. Rarely did we see isolation possessions or the ball getting “sticky” outside the arc.

Through the first 24 minutes of action, every Wolves player boasted a positive plus-minus. That has been unheard of thus far this season. Even though it came against a lowly Rockets team, it certainly was a positive and a step in the right direction for this team.

We also got this sick Jaden McDaniels dunk.

To kick off the third quarter, it looked like the Wolves were reverting to their old ways as the Rockets busted out of the gates on an 11-3 run, prompting Chris Finch to call a timeout. While the Wolves still had an 11 point lead, it was important for them to right the ship before things got out of hand.

The Wolves put together a quick 10-5 run on the back of a few Towns buckets to distance themselves again.

They finished the quarter strong offensively thanks to a mix of ball movement, shot making, and effort. To top it off, their woes took a night off as they finally outscored their opponent during the third frame, albeit by only a single point.

The fourth quarter came and went without much hiccups. It was a sloppy quarter from both teams, but the Wolves held onto a large lead throughout the entire 12 minutes and cruised their way to a victory. They even got Nathan Knight some minutes.

Overall, the ball movement was much better. Is this a product of having Anderson on the court rather than Gobert? Perhaps. Let’s hope that it is more about some growth in that area than the players on the floor. A blessing in disguise could be the Wolves figuring out that ball movement is the key to success while Gobert is out with COVID and when he comes back, he comes back to a team that has a lot of their negatives figured out.

Top Performers

Karl-Anthony Towns put up an impressive statline with 25 points on 6-8 shooting from two and 3 of 6 shooting from three to go along with his 9 rebounds and 6 assists. However, Towns was one of two Wolves rotation players to finish the game with a negative plus-minus at -1.

Anthony Edwards had himself a solid night, scoring 19 points, grabbing 2 rebounds, and dishing out 3 assists. He led the team with a plus-minus of +20. Plus he had a couple dunks, which is cool.

Kyle Anderson had his best game as a Wolf. He finished the night with 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists in 31 minutes. Anderson was 4 of 5 from two and cashed in on both of his three point attempts. He finished as a +13.

D’Angelo Russell had a nice bounce back game after struggling through much of the season so far. He scored 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting from two and 1 of 3 shooting from three. He also grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. He finished as a +2.

Jaden McDaniels put down three huge dunks in this game. He played like he was pissed off that he got benched in the second half of last night’s game against Milwaukee. He scored 13 points on 9 shots in this one.

Taurean Prince had a very impactful night. He poured in 16 points off the bench and pulled down 6 rebounds. He finished tonight as a +16.

For the Rockets, Jalen Green scored 21 points, Kenyon Martin Jr., Alperen Sengun, and Tari Eason each put up 17 points.