Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from blowout win over Suns

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 20: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 20: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves made easy work of the lowly Phoenix Suns for the second time in 48 hours on Tuesday night behind another big game from Karl-Anthony Towns.

It’s tough to beat the same team twice in consecutive games, so Minnesota Timberwolves fans would be excused if they watched Tuesday night’s contest with trepidation.

As it turns out, the Wolves’ second quarter run that put them up by 15 points at halftime was enough to take all the intrigue out of the rest of the game.

Karl-Anthony Towns did much of his work early once again against the shorthanded Suns, who were once again without rookie Deandre Ayton and lost both T.J. Warren (to injury) and Devin Booker (to ejection) during the game. The Wolves played without Jeff Teague, who sat out due to a sore foot while Derrick Rose started at point guard.

The most exciting moment of the game was an altercation between Booker and Gorgui Dieng that nearly escalated to blows, and ended with each player showing interest in meeting up in the tunnel between the locker rooms, much to the concern of team security.

Unfortunately, the two of them were not allowed to have a meeting of the minds after leaving the floor.

The game was all but over at that point, with the Wolves’ lead hovering around 20 points for much of the rest of the game. It was a great opportunity to get Rose (23 minutes), Towns (32 minutes) and Andrew Wiggins (34 minutes) some extra rest.

One key takeaway

The key takeaway from this blowout was the whopping 42 3-point attempts, making 15 (35.7 percent). Clearly, Ryan Saunders is placing more of an emphasis on the 3-point shot, and in the long run, it’ll pay off.

And now we’re going to do something a bit differently tonight and run through some player grades. Enjoy.

Player Grades

B. Coming off of a 31-point performance against the Suns on Sunday, Rose was asked to step into the starting lineup to replace the injured Jeff Teague. In just 23 minutes, Rose shot 3-of-9 from the field and finished with six points and five assists. He was largely focused on facilitating in this one as his outside shot continued to be just a bit off.. G. Minnesota Timberwolves. DERRICK ROSE

JOSH OKOGIE. A-. Josh Okogie had one of his better games of late, launching seven 3-pointers and making four en route to 21 points on 11 shots and contributing five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. He struggled a bit defensively on Josh Jackson in the first quarter, but was a big part of the Wolves’ offensive attack as they pulled away from the Suns.. G/F. Minnesota Timberwolves

B-. Andrew Wiggins had a quiet, albeit effective game. He had nine rebounds to go along with his 17 points, although it took him 18 shots to get to that total. Wiggins shot just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc as well, but he provided enough support for Towns to help the Wolves build their double-digit lead.. G/F. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS

TAJ GIBSON. A. Taj Gibson had yet another solid game in just 25 minutes, putting up 13 points on seven shots, plus seven rebounds and an assist. He provided an important level of toughness down low, especially when Towns was on the bench and in Gorgui Dieng’s absence following Dieng’s ejection.. PF. Minnesota Timberwolves

C. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS. A. <p style=

B+. With both Teague and Tyus Jones out due to injury, Jerryd Bayless stepped into duty as the primary backup at both guard spots. He played 28 minutes and somehow launched 16 shots from the field, including 4-of-11 from beyond the arc. He also dished out seven assists and grabbed four rebounds while knocking down a couple of 3-pointers at key moments late in the first half and early in the third quarter.. G. Minnesota Timberwolves. JERRYD BAYLESS

PF. Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC. B. Dario Saric only played 17 minutes in this one, both because Gibson was playing so well early and because the game was put away late in the third quarter. He was solid down low, especially in the two-game game along with Towns. He finished with five points, four rebounds, and three assists.

C+. Anthony Tolliver continues to struggle from downtown, missing his first three 3-point attempts on the night until draining one in garbage time. His solid defense and smart offense causes him to still be a positive player, but if he isn’t making 3-pointers then his effectiveness is severely limited.. F. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY TOLLIVER

The rest of the bench

Luol Deng was ninth on the team in minutes in this one, playing the final 15 minutes of the game and shooting 2-of-6 from the floor and grabbing five rebounds. Dieng was ejected and only played five minutes.

That leaves the garbage time trio of second-round pick Keita Bates-Diop and two-way players C.J. Williams and Jared Terrell. Bates-Diop made a mid-range jumper and grabbed two rebounds, Williams drained a deep three off the dribble and had a rebound and an assist, and Terrell had five points and an assist.

Next. Increasing the Wolves' 3-point attempts. dark

What’s Next?

The Timberwolves continue the road trip with a Thursday night showdown with the Lakers in L.A. The game tips off at 9:30 p.m. and will be nationally-televised on TNT.