December 10, 2017, 11:58 pm
The Minnesota Timberwolves were clearly a bit rusty. After having three days off from game action, the Wolves came out slower than the Dallas Mavericks and found themselves in a little bit of a deficit early on.
Jeff Teague admitted as such, saying after the game “I don’t really like the rest days. You get relaxed, you get to do certain things you normally don’t get to do and come out a little flat. I think that’s what we did today.”
Meanwhile Dallas hit their first four shot attempts, establishing an early tone. Most sets for the Wolves ended up fairly stagnant in the first half, or ended up with a turnover. This combination allowed Dallas to control the pace of the first half and maintain a lead heading into halftime.
Coming out of the break the Wolves looked much more energetic and focused on the game. The ball started moving around with a purpose and most importantly shots started to fall. In the game the Wolves ended up finishing with a 50 percent field goal percentage.
Karl-Anthony Towns was his vintage self tonight on offense, chipping in all around the court. He finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals while shooting 10-of-15 from the field and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. His only blemish was seven turnovers on the night which were part of the sloppy first half.
Even defensively Towns was fine, which for the Wolves might be all they need if Butler and Gibson are carrying their own weight.
Butler was the second leading scorer with 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting, 2-of-6 beyond the arc and 2-of-3 from the line, while grabbing eight rebounds, dishing five assists, and swiping two steals.
It was a disappointing performance from Andrew Wiggins in this matchup. Wiggins seemed to fall victim to the slow, sloppy first half and just couldn’t shake off whatever was bothering him. He finished with 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting, 0-of-3 from 3-point range and 4-of-8 from the line, while picking up only three rebounds, one assist and a block.
There were a number of possessions where his lack of engagement resulted in a negative play for the Wolves.
Specifically there was a defensive possession where the Wolves defenders were flying around the court, nailing every rotation and causing the Mavs to throw up a prayer. All Wiggins had to do was box out and grab the rebound but he just let it fall right near him and a nearby Maverick cleaned up the mess.
One of Wiggins’ biggest knocks has been his maddening inconsistency and tonight was one of those nights Wolves fans have almost learned to live with. Wigs is still a tremendous player and luckily these types of nights have been fewer and far between this season.
The third major scorer of this game was Jamal Crawford who finished with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting. No one else scored in double figures, which all seemed to be a side-affect of the off days. Luckily all they really needed tonight was KAT and Jimmy.
Either way the Wolves will take the win and move on to Tuesday’s tilt with the Philadelphia 76ers. This will be the first meeting between these two teams on the season. The Sixers just went through a rash of injuries to many key players. The status of McConnell, Covington and Embiid are all in question.