January 28, 2018, 12:06 am
Jimmy Butler was a welcome sight when he was announced in the starting lineups tonight. He looked mostly like his normal self out there as well, and the Wolves as a team came out of the gates strong.
Through the first quarter the Wolves led 30-11 and built the lead to as high as 26 points in the second quarter. From there the Wolves let their guard down a bit and started to coast, which allowed the Nets to fight back into the game.
Brooklyn managed to whittle the lead down to 12 by halftime and managed to get it all the way down to five points in the early portions of the third. Fortunately from there Minnesota took control again and close out the game 111-97.
There were spurts where the Nets kept trying to claw back into the game but the lead never much felt too threatened after the initial third quarter rush.
The Wolves didn’t play their best game, evident with the many times they let the Nets back into the game. They shot 44.2 percent from the field and just 19 percent from 3-point range. The 3-point shooting was particularly disturbing, not only the poor percentage but the ones they didn’t take as well.
There were a number of times when a player had an open look from the perimeter and decided to pass up the shot. Even though the team shot just 4-of-21 from beyond the arc, those are shots guys like Teague, Wiggins and Towns have to take.
After the game Thibs echoed the thought in his press interview stating he wants his team shooting more 3-pointers.
To Thibs’ credit he has been saying this all season as well. The Wolves rank 28th in the league in 3-point attempts and Thibs has wanted to see that number increase all season. When guys are passing up wide open looks, it makes it somewhat more frustrating. Luckily it didn’t come to harm the team tonight.
Karl-Anthony Towns was a beast in the paint tonight, grabbing 10 offensive rebounds. He finished with 19 total rebounds and added 16 points, one assist, one steal and three blocks. He shot 7-of-16 from the field, but 0-of-4 from the arc.
Wiggins scored 21 points on 9-of-20 shooting. He picked up five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. He also shot 0-of-3 from beyond the arc.
The aforementioned Butler scored 21 points as well, but shot only 4-of-14 from the field. It was about the only area he looked rusty as he picked up six rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer while not turning the ball over a single time. He was also 12-of-14 from the line.
Jeff Teague was disappointing tonight. He scored only two points and shot 0-of-4 from the field. He picked up four assists, two rebounds and one steal. He also played just 24 minutes, which is noteworthy because Tyus Jones played 24 minutes and closed out the game, over Teague, with the rest of the starters.
Teague passed up a number of wide open looks both in the lane and from beyond the arc. Overall he just looked passive and out of sorts. Jones finishing the game was a mini-development that caught the fan-base in a frenzy momentarily.
Thibs has been a vocal supporter of Teague all season so he was not likely to bench Teague unless he was injured, but he was on the bench with the rest of the team and never appeared to be examined by a trainer.
After the game Thibs clarified that he scheduled to put Teague back into the game but Teague told Thibs to let Tyus close it out. It mostly sounds like just a one-night situation and Teague really just didn’t have anything going tonight.
Jones was playing very well though. He finished with 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting with five assists, two rebounds, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer. He played 24 minutes, which is the most this season in a game that Teague has been healthy.
Tonight the Wolves avoided yet another three-game losing streak. They still have yet to lose more than two games in a row on the season, in six opportunities. They have also exceeded their win total from last season with 32 victories and 30 games still left to play.
Up next the Wolves have a quick two-game, two-day road trip starting in Atlanta and finishing in Toronto to close out the month of January.