There are several guys to highlight after a gritty win, but we just have to start with Nazreon Hilton Reid. Filling in for the injured Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert, Reid showed exactly why he is such a luxury to have. Reid was outstanding for Minnesota, finishing with 28 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal. He was every bit as impactful as that line suggests, which is why he was a +22 in a two-point win. Think about that! The Wolves won Naz Reid’s 37 minutes by 22 points, and lost the 11 minutes he was off the floor by 20.
At a minimum, it’s becoming harder and harder to justify not finding moments for Reid to play even when the entire team is healthy. Not every matchup will be as favorable for him as this one was, but he’s genuinely just a really good player. If we want to just reward the players who you can count on to play hard every night, Reid is at the very top of that list. He’s a fan favorite but he’s also just a damn good basketball player.
Naz Reid delivered the best game of his young career— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) December 17, 2022
✅ 28 points
✅ 8/13 2PT | 3/5 3PT | 3/7 FT
✅ 9 rebounds
✅ 3 assists
✅ 2 steals
✅ 1 block
✅ Game-high +21 in 37 min
Reid was the highlight, but Anthony Edwards deserves so much credit as well. The budding superstar nearly posted a triple-double, as he routinely took what the defense gave him in his second straight game as the lead ball-handler. Ant methodically worked his way to 19 points (8-16 shooting), 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 stocks. The only real blemish on Edwards’ night was his poor free-throw shooting, as he shot 1-4 from the charity stripe, including two misses at the end of the game that gave Oklahoma City a heave for a chance to win.
What’s exciting to see from Edwards is how he’s becoming more comfortable letting the game come to him. He’s becoming more comfortable with the ball in his hands, and with most of the other playmakers out, this is the perfect time to force feed Ant on-ball reps. He has a ways to go as far as reading the floor goes, so these are valuable reps for him.
The other game ball has to go to Austin Rivers. Rivers has been a fine defender but catastrophic offensive player thus far this season, but he was a major reason the Wolves won tonight. He scored 20 points and added 5 steals, but it was his stare down three-pointer in the closing moments that put the Wolves up for good. When you’re missing a handful of rotation players, you need guys to step up and play a larger role than they normally would. Who better to do so than the vet, Austin Rivers. Rivers is an easy guy to cheer for, with the way he’s bought into being a good teammate and helping his teams by doing the little things. I’m happy for Rivers tonight.
Hard to overstate what Austin RIvers brought to the Timberwolves tonight:— Canis Hoopus (@canishoopus) December 17, 2022
• 20 points
• 2/2 2PT | 4/5 3PT | 4/4 FT
• 3 rebounds
• career-high 5 steals
• Game-winning 3 w/ 11.8 leftpic.twitter.com/wD9wtcH0PA
While it wasn’t always pretty, the Wolves had to dig deep tonight to get a win and that’s exactly what they did. The signs of a real Edwards leap are starting to look more and more real, which is what is most important to the long-term health of this franchise anyways. Sometimes, it’s good to just enjoy a win and let yourself feel good about a game. That’s what tonight is all about. The Wolves took care of business, and now get another chance to add one to the win column on Sunday at home against the Chicago Bulls.
Anthony Edwards is why I’ll never lose hope.— Kyle Theige (@KyleTheige) December 17, 2022