October 22, 2017, 8:02 pm
Breathe. There was a lot of action down the stretch of this game with both teams trading leads and the star players putting on a show.
In the final 37 seconds of the game, Wiggins extended the lead to three with a put-back dunk, Westbrook tied the game with a pull-up 3-pointer, Towns made a floater to put the Wolves back on top and Melo answered with a go-ahead 3-pointer which looked like a game-winner.
All this set up Andrew Wiggins. With Gibson inbounding the ball and 4.7 seconds left on the clock, Wiggins got the ball in space and dribbled up the floor. Thanks to a hard (perhaps illegal) screen from Towns, he was able to get open just past the half court line and pull up from about 32 feet, where he banked in the winning shot as the clock hit zero.
Timberwolves win 115-113.
a lot can happen in 8.9 seconds pic.twitter.com/BxGOGctJ7F
— James Herbert (@outsidethenba) October 23, 2017
Wiggins finished the game with 27 points (10-of-20 shooting, 2-of-7 on threes), seven rebounds, four assists, two steals and one turnover, all season-highs. It was a signature game from Wiggins, and likely one of his best games in his young career. He able to score all over the floor, showing off a nice array of post moves, and moved well in space generating easy baskets.
He also had a nice game defensively, staying with Paul George most of the night and holding him to 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting, easily his worst game of the season. Wiggins rotated well on help defense and always seemed to be in the correct position. There is a lot of good to build on this game for him.
All five starters scored in double digits for the Wolves and it was the best that unit has looked all season. Tom Thibodeau recognized this and rode with that group most of the way, with each starter going 33 minutes, and Wiggins, Butler and Teague going 39 minutes a piece.
Towns picked up his third straight double-double, with 27 points (11-of-17 shooting), 12 rebounds, one assist, and one block. He did have four turnovers, and took seven three-pointers (making two). Both those numbers are higher than you would normally like to see.
He also had a number of defensive miscues in the paint, giving up a number of easy plays. There was also a key moment where he was caught ball watching on a defensive rebound opportunity, and he allowed Adams to get the ball and put it back in. Towns fouled Adams on the play, which brought the Thunder to within 106-105.
Towns has now done this in each game this season. These types of plays are easy to clean up and hopefully will be soon.
Jeff Teague had his best game of the season, scoring 19 points, dishing out nine assists, grabbing six rebounds, and one steal. He shot 5-of-10 from the field, 1-of-1 from deep and 8-of-8 from the line. Teague was initiating the offense much more often tonight than the first two games, and the offense really flowed well as a result.
Teague was able to get in the paint and finish, or kick out. He was hitting his jumpers on the perimeter as well. This was the type of game the Wolves paid big money for.
Jimmy Butler finished with 15 points, six assist and six rebounds. His job tonight was to slow down Westbrook, and he did a pretty good job through three-quarters. Westbrook is relentless though, and you can only hope to slow him down for stretches.
Taj Gibson posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He found Towns on two nice assists off of offensive rebounds and was actually able to hold his ground against Carmelo Anthony for stretches. He did have issues holding onto the ball in the lane a few times down the stretch.
Overall the bench was quiet and didn’t play well, though Gorgui Dieng did look a little better this game compared to his last two.
This was a real entertaining game to watch. The Timberwolves came in ready to play and were able to fend off the late surge by Westbrook and hold on to win. This was also a glimpse of what can possibly be expected if the team is able to put everything together.
The starting unit was able to run a cohesive offense and there were no spacing issues to worry about. The Thunder’s defense is not on par with the Jazz or Spurs, but seeing that potential gives plenty of reason to get excited about what’s ahead.
The Timberwolves’ next game is Tuesday back home against the Indiana Pacers.