March 30, 2018, 11:47 pm
It wasn’t easy, in fact they trailed most of the way, but the Wolves were able to come out on top in Dallas and win 93-92. The win was their fourth of the season versus the Mavericks, concluding a series sweep against them for the first time since the mid 90s.
The Mavericks are openly tanking, so this isn’t exactly a major accomplishment, but credit the Mavs’ players for competing all night and giving the superior Wolves a run for their money.
The Wolves were just out of sync on offense all night, shooting just 42.2 percent on the night, and 8-of-25 from 3-point range. The offensive sets just took a long time to develop and often players were settling for contested shots or having to rush something up.
The stars didn’t show up in this one. Karl-Anthony Towns put up a 21-point, 20 rebound performance, but was inefficient in doing it, shooting just 8-of-21 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range. Andrew Wiggins scored just eight points on 4-of-17 shooting, though he did add four rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks.
Jeff Teague was off to a good start as one of the few bright spots, but he went down with an injury in the third quarter an did not return. He had 14 points, four rebounds, two assists, one block and two 3-pointers when he left.
Instead the Wolves turned to Jamal Crawford to provide the spark they needed. The ageless wonder scored 24 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter alone. Whenever the Wolves needed a bucket, it was Crawford that stepped up to the challenge.
After leading by as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter, the Mavs were able to get it all the way down to two points with under 30 seconds remaining. Dallas declined to foul, opting to play defense with the hopes to get the ball back in time for the final shot. The Wolves needed a basket in the biggest way.
It was a fine decision, in theory, especially given how the Wolves’ offense was performing all night. They were able to get the ball to Crawford, clear the floor and let him get to work.
Jamal calls game! pic.twitter.com/rogvwVA49v
— Kevin Brand (@KBranded) March 31, 2018
It wasn’t the prettiest move, and they probably could have gotten a more open look, but there’s no arguing the results. Crawford was hot in the final quarter and was ready to head home.
Between Crawford and Towns, they scored 20 of the teams’ 26 points in the final quarter. After slogging through the first three quarters (38.1 percent team shooting), the duo was able to put the finishing touches on a win.
This victory isn’t insignificant either. The win, and a combination of losses from other Western Conference squads, pushed the Wolves all the way up to fifth, and just a half game out of fourth.
The Wolves aren’t playing great basketball at the moment, but still find themselves right in the think of things. With Butler close to returning, it seems like the Wolves have weathered the storm just enough to survive. There’s still a number of important games ahead, though, starting on Sunday with the Utah Jazz in what will be the final regular-season meeting. Winner gets the tie-breaker as well, and with just a half game separating the teams, that could be the difference between hosting a game one.