Wolves Summer League Wrap: LaVine, Towns lead Wolves over Lakers


The Wolves Summer League entry began play on Friday evening by taking on the Los Angeles Lakers in Las Vegas.

The Wolves started Lorenzo Brown, Zach LaVine, Othyus Jeffers, Adreian Payne, and Karl-Anthony Towns. The Lakers starting lineup included last year’s seventh-overall pick, Julius Randle, who missed all of 2014-15 with a broken leg, as well as this year’s second-overall pick in D’Angelo Russell.

Scoring was in short supply for much of the game, but it still had an impressive up-an-down pace. That began early with a Zach LaVine vs. the Lakers back-and-forth from beyond the arc. The Wolves’ second year guard hit back-to-back threes, one off the dribble and one on a catch-and-shoot after coming around a screen and even though he was certainly trigger-happy, there were only one or two terrible shots of the 17 he attempted on the night.

Towns played well, and though he scored just six points in the first half, he was double and sometime triple-teamed by the Lakers and only turned the ball over once passing out of the post. He found a couple of open shooters and cutters and showed outstanding court awareness that the Wolves aren’t used to having out of the post.

He was beat a couple of times off the dribble on defense but also had an extremely impressive left-handed help-side block while still guarding his own man. Overall, Towns was nothing if not solid, flashing defense, post moves, awareness, and most of all, passing ability.

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The most glaring mark on Towns’ performance was the nine (9!) personal fouls. He played 32 minutes, which is more than he ever played at Kentucky, and no doubt fatigue and the speed of the game contributed to his high foul total.

The biggest issue for Minnesota for much of the first three quarters was point guard play. Brown had a decent game, ultimately scoring 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting, but Tyus Jones flat-out struggled on both ends of the floor and especially in initiating the Wolves’ offense.

LaVine was the best player on the court for much of the contest, and while he shot too much (7-17 FG, 4-8 3P, 6-8 FT) and wasn’t great on defense, he was confident and showed what looked to be a bit more balance in his jumper and a willingness to drive to the basket.

The game itself was close for three-and-a-half quarters before the Wolves used a 12-1 run to pull away late. It was essentially a home game for the Lake Show, and the crowd was as loud as a Summer League crowd could possibly be, one would think. When the Lakers pulled into a tie early in the fourth quarter, it was good to see the Wolves’ young players take control of game down the stretch.

Tweet of the Night

Clip of the Night

Star of the Night

Zach LaVine: 24 points (7-17 FG, 4-8 3P, 6-8 FT), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 turnovers, one steal

LaVine played well, as noted above. The sheer numbers and the willingness to take the game over late was enough to give him the edge over the foul-prone Towns.

Notable Lines

  • Karl-Anthony Towns: 12 points (4-10 FG, 0-2 3P, 4-5 FT), 4 assists, 3 rebounds, one block
  • Lorenzo Brown: 17 points (6-9 FG, 1-2 3P, 4-5 FT), 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 turnovers
  • Adreian Payne: 10 points (4-13 FG, 2-2 FT), 9 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal, 4 turnovers
  • Reggie Miller: Called Karl-Anthony Towns “Anthony Towns” at least a dozen times on NBATV’s broadcast.
  • Andrew Wiggins: Sam Mitchell joined the NBATV broadcast and broke a bit of news…apparently the reigning Rookie of the Year has already grown this summer. So there’s that. Paul George, anyone?

Who’s Got Next

The Wolves turn around and play on Sunday evening, tipping off against the Chicago Bulls at 5:30 p.m. Central Time. We’ll have coverage of that game as well, so keep it tuned to DWW.

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