October 30, 2017, 8:40 pm
It took some extra time, and the team nearly found themselves stranded on Waiters Island, but the Wolves were able to hang on and win 125-122 in overtime. This is already the Wolves’ fourth game decided by three points or less, and they are 4-0 in those games.
Dion Waiters was doing everything he could to will the Heat to victory, nailing tough shots down the stretch. He finished the game with 33 points, and scored 18 of the last 25 for his team. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough as his final heave hit the back of the rim and the Wolves could celebrate.
This game was sloppy, especially at the start. The Wolves looked sluggish, similar to early last week in their losses to the Pacers and Pistons. Luckily the team was able to pull themselves together when they needed to.
It was still another rough defensive game. The Wolves allowed the Heat to shoot 52.7 percent and gave up too many layups and dunks. The Heat committed 24 turnovers though, which limited their offensive upside. Most of the turnovers were generated as a result of the Heat forcing the issue as opposed to suffocating Wolves’ defense.
Overall, the Wolves didn’t seem engaged on defense the majority of the time. They were able to pull off a few stops, but this is still an area of concern.
Offensively, the team had a well-rounded game. It was choppy at times and there were some lucky rolls, but for the most part you will accept offensive performances like this one most nights. As a team, they shot 45.1 percent from the field, 47.8 percent from three-point range (11-of-23) and 91.4 percent from the line (32-of-35).
The 3-pointers and free-throws were likely the difference in this ball game. The Wolves got into the bonus early in the fourth quarter and took advantage of the opportunity.
Jeff Teague led the team in points with 23, adding 11 assists, five rebounds and six steals to complete a loaded line. He shot 7-of-18 from the field, 3-of-5 from three-point range and 6-of-6 at the line. His defense wasn’t great at times, and quit on a couple of plays that led to points. But this was still a game you will take out of Teague.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored an efficient 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, grabbed 12 rebounds, and added three 3-pointers, three blocks, one steal and one assist. Towns did leave his feet unnecessarily for some help defense, which left rookie Bam Adebayo wide open for a number of dunks.
Adebayo finished his best game in his short career with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points on the night, but he was mostly quiet early in the game. As the Wolves’ started to show some life, Wiggins was the man providing the energy. He’s been maddeningly inconsistent thus far, sometime settling for long jumpers and not attacking.
We know when Wiggins is in attack mode, he is tough to slow down because he can pull off moves like this:
Good god, Andrew Wiggins pic.twitter.com/LwyMQYCSu2
— CJ Fogler #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) October 31, 2017
When he’s settling, the offense tends to slow down as well. It’s no coincidence that the Wolves began to play better when Wiggins came alive late in the second quarter.
Jimmy Butler had a quiet night by his standards, with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. He only shot 5-of-13 overall. On defense, he was beat more than a few times by Waiters late in the game. He looked a little bit gassed out there.
The bench was mostly ineffective for the Wolves, but Thibs did play Crawford in some late game situations again over Taj Gibson. Crawford finished with 13 points.
Looking forward, the Wolves play on Wednesday versus the Pelicans. It will be a battle of the Wildcat big men, with former Kentucky star Towns going against former Kentucky stars Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. It should be a fascinating game that promises to be another high scoring affair.