Minnesota Timberwolves: Towns dominates, Wolves beat Pelicans

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 12: Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves blocks a shot by Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 12: Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves blocks a shot by Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night behind a monster game from Karl-Anthony Towns, who dominated Anthony Davis down the stretch.

Karl-Anthony Towns might have been an All-Star last year, but he’s turned into a true superstar this season.

The Minnesota Timberwolves led by double-digits in the first half but gave it all back and then some, needing a clutch performance down the stretch to regain the lead and hang on for the victory.

Towns finished with 27 points and 27 rebounds and shutdown Anthony Davis in crunch time, blocking Davis’ shot twice in the span of a minute. He also had a game-sealing rebound after walling up and stopping Davis for a third time on the Pelicans’ final possession of the game.

Towns had a monster first half, achieving a double-double early in the second frame as the Wolves built a 10-point lead. The Pelicans came back late in the first half, however, and Minnesota only led by two at the half.

The third quarter was a struggle for the Wolves, too, as they simply could not slow down New Orleans and struggled to get real traction on offense themselves.

Tyus Jones, who played 28 minutes on the night after Jeff Teague appeared to hurt his ankle on the final play of the first half and didn’t return after heading to the bench early in the third quarter, had an awesome final frame. He was aggressive, exploiting mismatches and getting to the rim seemingly at will.

Towns dominated on the glass all night long, and Dario Saric, who was held scoreless just 24 hours prior and was called for three quick fouls on Saturday, had a fantastic second-half stretch and ended up with 14 points in 16 seconds.

The game was still close late in the fourth quarter, but a series of offensive rebounds and four quick points from Jones sandwiched around Towns’ two huge blocks allowed the Wolves to take a 110-106 into the final minute, and that’s how things ended up as the Wolves’ defense stepped up big.

Video of the Night

Tweets of the Night

Player of the Game

Karl-Anthony Towns: 27 points (10-23 FG, 3-8 3P, 4-6 FT), 27 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 assists, 2 steals

Towns was an absolute monster, especially on the glass and on defense. While he wasn’t overly efficient, he played Davis tough, stayed out of foul trouble, and showed incredible aggressiveness on the boards.

His improved awareness on defense and constant maximum effort has been going on for a few weeks now, but it appears to have ticked up a notch with Ryan Saunders at the helm. If he keeps playing like this, making an All-NBA team will be a foregone conclusion.

Notable Timberwolves Box Score Lines

  • Josh Okogie: 17 points (6-14 FG, 1-8 3P, 4-5 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal
  • Andrew Wiggins: 18 points (7-21 FG, 2-8 3P, 2-3 FT), 7 rebounds, one assist, one steal
  • Dario Saric: 14 points (4-7 FG, 2-3 3P, 4-4 FT), 4 rebounds
  • Tyus Jones: 14 points (4-9 FG, 2-3 3P, 4-4 FT), 6 assists, one steal, one block, one rebound
  • Luol Deng: 5 points (2-2 FG, 1-1 3P)

Okogie played a game-high 42 minutes and had a huge night. While he missed seven 3-point attempts, he shot 5-of-6 inside the arc and grabbed five rebounds.

Wiggins was inefficient but active and hit a couple of important baskets. Saric barely played in the first half due to foul trouble but was a big part of stemming the tide in the second half.

Jones was fantastic and more or less was the offense for the Wolves down the stretch. Deng played his first meaningful minutes of the game, filling in at power forward after Saric got into first half foul trouble and knocking down his only two shot attempts.

Ryan Saunders is more than a name. dark. Next

What’s Next?

The Timberwolves will enjoy two days off before taking on Jimmy Butler in Philadelphia on Tuesday. The game tips off at 6 p.m. CT and will be on NBA TV.