Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 takeaways from Wolves win over Heat

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 30: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 30: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves followed up Friday’s crushing loss with a nearly wire-to-wire road win over the Miami Heat behind a huge game from Karl-Anthony Towns.

The Minnesota Timberwolves had a miserable showing on their home floor on Friday night, falling to the lowly Atlanta Hawks in overtime after falling behind by as many as 22 points.

On Sunday evening in Miami, the Wolves leaned on Karl-Anthony Towns to defeat the Heat by a final score of 113-104. Towns put up 34 points, 18 points, seven assists, six blocks, and three steals. Nobody else on the Wolves scored more than 16 points on the night.

The Wolves never trailed by more than two points, pulling ahead by 11 by the end of the first quarter. Miami nearly pulled even in the second quarter as the Wolves’ halftime lead was just one, but Minnesota gradually rebuilt a lead throughout the second half.

Let’s take a look at the three main takeaways from the game.

1. Karl-Anthony Towns dominated

Towns’ crazy line came against Hassan Whiteside, Kelly Olynyk, and Bam Adebayo — not exactly the San Antonio Spurs of the late 1990s, but not a bad frontcourt at all.

He not only put up an impressive and rare statline, but Towns was strong defensively throughout, consistently coming up with key blocks and rebounds. He was an important part of holding a previously hot Miami Heat team to just 19 points in the first quarter.

2. Free throw shooting

After missing a whopping 17 free throws in Friday’s loss to the Hawks en route to shooting just 55.3 percent from the charity stripe, the Wolves made 29 of their 36 attempts in Miami (80.6 percent).

Robert Covington struggled from the line on Friday and made all seven of his attempts. Towns was 7-for-9. Andrew Wiggins only attempted two freebies but made them both.

The Heat, for their part, shot 22-for-28 (78.6 percent) from the line.

3. Stepping up at point guard

The Wolves relied on Tyus Jones as the starting point guard and Jerryd Bayless as his backup on Sunday as Derrick Rose missed the game following the aggravation of his sprained ankle on Friday night. Jeff Teague remains out, too.

Jones had his second straight fantastic outing, scoring 12 points (5-12 FG, 0-1 3P, 2-2 FT), five assists, five steals, and four rebounds. He played well on Friday, too, and the Wolves will need him to keep stringing together strong performances if they’re to stay afloat in the Western Conference.

Next. Andrew Wiggins continues to disappoint Wolves fans. dark

What’s Next?

The Timberwolves head west to New Orleans to take on the floundering Pelicans on the second night of a back-to-back on Monday night. The Pels’ 16-21 record puts them 14th in the West and 1.5 games behind Minnesota.