Timberwolves Wrap: Wiggins, bench rally Wolves past Warriors in China

SHENZHEN, CHINA - OCTOBER 05: Jimmy Butler /

The Minnesota Timberwolves played their first preseason game in China and came out on top with impressive offensive play after an initial 13 point deficit.

111. 86. Final. 97. 41

After a long flight to China, the Golden State Warriors went sight seeing on their first day… Meanwhile, Tom Thibodeau had his Timberwolves drop off their bags at the hotel and head straight to the gym for practice.

As the game went on you could tell the difference between the Warriors and Timberwolves overall discipline.

The Warriors came out of the gate looking in mid-season form with a quick ten point lead in the first quarter. The Timberwolves defense continued to struggle against the reigning champs as they fell into a 13 point deficit early in the second quarter.

It wouldn’t take long for this new look Wolves team to respond.  Instead of giving up, they battled back and cut the Warriors lead to just five points with a score of 55-50 headed into halftime.

For the most part, this game was an accurate representation on playing time for both teams. The first three quarters were evenly distributed between both starters and bench how they would be in a normal game.

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Kevin Durant looked unstoppable in this game.  To counteract Durant’s play, the Timberwolves big three showed up in limited minutes.

Both Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns had 16 points to lead the way for the Timberwolves. Andrew Wiggins looked a lot more relaxed against the Warriors and even hit a few 3-pointers.

The intensity was there in this game. There were a few times where the Wolves and Warriors got chippy but namely one altercation between Shabazz Muhammad and JaVale McGee ended both players being separated by teammates.

By the time the bench came in late in the third quarter the Timberwolves had cut the Warriors lead dramatically and headed to the fourth quarter down 79-81.

The bench looked disciplined, and you could tell our second unit had been in the gym a lot longer than the Warriors.  The Timberwolves bench easily pulled away and made it a double-digit win in the end.

Tweet of the Night

Tipoff was at 1 a.m Central time this morning and some Timberwolves faithful made sure to stay up to see them in action.

Key Takeaways

  • Taj Gibson took a pair of 3-pointers again in this game. He missed on and made a corner three with a hand in his face. It looks like Gibson’s deep range is something that is here to stay.
  • After a rocky first half for Jeff Teague which saw him go 0-7, he came out like a man on fire in the third quarter. He was aggressive attacking the basket, and dropped a pair of 3-pointers to help the Wolves climb out of their deficit to the Warriors. If Teague can look as good as he has in the first two preseason games he will be an immediate upgrade at the point guard position this season.
  • Get this, the Timberwolves shot way better from deep than the Warriors did in last nights game. The Wolves shot 46 percent from deep compared to Golden State’s 27 percent.
  • The defense still looked rocky against the Warriors starters. It is hard to shut down the most potent offense in the NBA but Thibodeau will have a ways to go to make this defense what he wants it to be.
  • The biggest takeaway for me was the stellar play of the bench. Last year, the Timberwolves bench production was awful. This year through two games adding Jamal Crawford and Gorgui Dieng to the bench unit may have solved the riddle of how to get production from the second unit.

Player of the Game

Karl-Anthony Towns: 16 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists.

Towns looked in midseason form out there against the Warriors. What was more exciting was see the way he and Jimmy Butler shared the ball. KAT also continued to show why he is an all-around star with his deep range adding another impressive corner three.

Next: Minnesota Timberwolves: 5 things to know about Jamal Crawford

Notable Box Score Lines

Jimmy Butler: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists.

Andrew Wiggins: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists

Taj Gibson: 13 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist

Nemanja Bjelica: 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists

Gorgui Dieng: 9 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist