Despite a career-high 30 points from Naz Reid and nine rebounds, the Minnesota Timberwolves fall to the Golden State Warriors 109-104 at Chase Center in San Francisco.
The Wolves have dropped now four of their last five games, including bad home losses to a disappointing Washington Wizards team and a lottery-bound opponent in the Charlotte Hornets.
The Warriors were without Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, and Gary Payton II.
Reid came alive early with 18 first-quarter points, which pushed the Timberwolves to a 34-25 lead. However, the Warriors responded with a 34-23 second quarter on the back of Warriors’ guard Donte DiVincenzo, who had 11 in the quarter.
The Timberwolves opened up the second half in strong fashion but were outscored 31-17 in the final period of play.
“I thought if we kept playing like that, we’ll be fine,” Head Coach Chris Finch said. “We responded to everything, and if there’s another two minutes in the game...maybe we finished on top.”
Minnesota and Golden State matched evenly from the field (42%). However, the Timberwolves shot a poor 11/21 from the free-throw line. That margin possibly made all the difference.
Anthony Edwards Can’t Find Rhythm in Loss
Edwards finished with 12 points on five of 19 shooting.
The Warriors threw a variety of coverages at Edwards that mimic what he will likely see in the playoffs. Particularly, the Warriors' switching scheme bogged down the offense.
By switching actions involving Edwards and shrinking the floor to cut off driving lanes, Edwards was forced to settle for contested outside jumpers. If he did get into the paint, bodies swarmed the third-year player but did so without fouling. Edwards only shot one free throw, and the shot was a technical free throw on a defensive three-second.
This is where not having Karl-Anthony Towns in the lineup hurts. The team doesn’t have a dominant interior presence to throw the ball to and bend the defense from the inside. Instead, the team relies on Edwards to generate kick outs, but the Warriors stifled their attack with solid ball containment.
Reid can function in the post like Towns, but part of his strength is attacking closeouts from the perimeter and using his excellent ball-handling.
Towns’ return is on the horizon, but the team needs to find a way to win games in order to maximize their playoff run.
Naz Reid’s Career Outing
After an 18-point first quarter to get the Timberwolves ahead, Reid finished with 30 points and displayed his offensive versatility at the five spot.
Naz Reid driving dunk pic.twitter.com/65vQBy1EgR— Timberwolves Clips (@WolvesClips) February 27, 2023
He got his 30 by running the floor and getting downhill against the slower-footed Kevon Looney. Reid stretched the floor by hitting pick and pops and also faked dribble-handoff action into drives to the hoop.
Reid has had an excellent season but gets lost in the rotational shuffle at times, with Rudy Gobert and Towns being such crucial components to the team. Reid can’t always effectively play next to his fellow centers due to their lack of versatility on offense for Gobert and versatility on defense for Towns.
Reid needs to show he can do enough on offense to warrant minutes over Gobert and possibly Towns.
At the end of the day, the Timberwolves are still missing arguably their most consistently productive player (KAT) and a defensive anchor (Gobert), but the team is in the playoff hunt in a reloaded west. There needs to be more urgency and consistent play in order for them to have a shot at making any noise come playoff time.
The Wolves can’t dwell on this one, as they have another National TV game on the road against a playoff opponent, as they hit L.A. Live on Tuesday for a battle with the Los Angeles Clippers. You can catch the tip at 9 PM CT on TNT.