November 5, 2017, 11:37 pm
The Wolves have had no problems scoring the ball lately, and this game was no different. Minnesota came out strong in the first half by scoring 68 points, including 40 in the second quarter. On the night the team shot 46 percent overall, 42 percent from 3-point range and 87 percent from the line.
The ball wasn’t moving as well as it was on Saturday, but the team still dished out 20 assists on 38 field goals, led by Jeff Teague’s 12 which was a season-high.
Teague had another excellent game scoring 18 points to go with his 12 assists along with five rebounds, four 3-pointers and one block. Teague is averaging 10.4 assists during this five-game winning streak and he is really fitting in nicely with the offense.
Defensively he was able to hold Kemba Walker to nine points and nine assists on 4-of-15 shooting.
Wiggins led the team in scoring again with 20 points, chipping in three rebounds, two assists and a block. His defense has picked up tremendously during this winning streak and it looks like he’s buying into the concepts that end of the court.
Late in the fourth, with the game well in hand, Wiggins found himself in a 2-on-1 fastbreak defense and hustled back to block the shot and save the possession. It’s the little things that have to improve, and situations like that are encouraging to see.
Towns was quiet by his standards scoring 16 points with nine rebounds, two assists and two blocks. He didn’t nail a 3-pointer and only took 11 shots on the night. Early in the game the Hornets surprisingly deployed undersized Marvin Williams as opposed to Dwight Howard on Towns, and I believe that threw him out of his rhythm slightly.
After Towns floated on the perimeter to open the game it took the Wolves about eight possessions before they attacked the mismatch in the post. Once they did Towns scored on two straight possessions fairly easily. Charlotte called a timeout and once play resumed the Wolves went away from the post for some reason.
The mismatch was there most of the game if they wanted to use it, but luckily it didn’t matter much.
Jimmy Butler took six shots on the night, making four, scoring 13 points and adding six rebounds, one assist and one steal. The Wolves have developed nice chemistry on the offensive side of the ball which has allowed Butler to focus on defense and being a glue guy. Quite a luxury for the young Wolves.
Gorgui Dieng had a double-double off the bench scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He only shot 3-of-7 from the field, but made 9-of-10 at the line. Dieng’s had a real slow start to the season as he adjusted to the bench role, but he’s showing signs of life lately.
It’s still going to be hard for Dieng to earn additional minutes going forward. Gibson is a rock in the starting lineup and Bjelica has proven he’s earned minutes at the power-forward with his shooting and playmaking. Barring injury or a trade this is about what we can expect from Dieng, minutes wise, going forward.
Jamal Crawford chimed in his usual production as a volume scorer off the bench finishing with 15 points. He completed his 51st 4-point play in his career and his first in Minnesota. J.J. Redick is second in NBA history with 32 and Reggie Miller is third with 24.
Gibson just missed his third straight double-double scoring eight points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Timberwolves are on the rise, as Sam Amick notes below:
Meanwhile in Minnesota…
* First 5-game winning streak since Jan. 2009
* Best start since 01-02
* 1st time 4 games over .500 since Jan. '07
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) November 6, 2017
On top of all that, they have also held their last three opponents under 100 points, which is an excellent feat. Both the win streak and defensive streak will be in serious jeopardy on Wednesday when they take on the Warriors.
The Wolves have looked really good this past week, and are 7-1 on the season when Jimmy Butler is in the lineup. This upcoming series of games will be a nice measuring stick for the team. They face the Warriors, Suns and Jazz on the road then the Spurs back at home.
This is likely the toughest stretch they’ve had to face on the season so far and will be a good indicator of where the team stands.