Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from home loss to Jazz

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 27: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 27: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves had a chance for redemption just 48 hours after losing a heart-breaker in Utah, but instead fell to the Jazz once again.

The Minnesota Timberwolves followed a disappointing yet character-building loss in Salt Lake City on Friday night with a disappointing defensive effort in their second loss to the Jazz in three days.

While the Wolves had a great offensive night, scoring almost at will and knocking down 17 3-pointers while shooting 47.2 percent from beyond the arc as a team, their defense was beyond miserable.

No single Jazz player dominated the Wolves — sure, Donovan Mitchell had 29 points but it took him 22 shots to do it — but were able to get off 39 3-point attempts as a team, making 15 of them. Jae Crowder was 5-for-10 from beyond the arc and was seemingly omnipresent whenever the Jazz needed a made bucket in a key moment.

The Wolves’ defensive rotations were far from crisp, and while their work on the boards was solid, they were simply unable to keep the Jazz from answering any push Minnesota was able to make on offense.

Let’s get into the player grades from the game.

B+. Karl-Anthony Towns was dominant early, scoring 13 points with ease in the first quarter. For once, he wasn’t in foul trouble, either, and played 36 minutes. So how in the world did the Wolves’ lone remaining All-Star only manage to attempt 10 shots from the field? It was partly due to play-calling and partly due to a solid defensive strategy from the Jazz. And to Towns’ credit, he still had a huge night, racking up seven assists as he was more than willing to pass out of double-teams. He also had 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting, six rebounds, and three blocks.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

ANDREW WIGGINS. A-. Andrew Wiggins was outstanding, dropping 35 points (13-23 FG, 3-8 3P, 6-7 FT) and also putting up four assists, three rebounds, and three steals. He had stretches of several missed shots in a row, but clearly the message from interim head coach has been to remain aggressive, and it paid off for Wiggins in the end. The three rebounds in 38 minutes is, once again, rather jarring, but it was overall a positive game from Andrew.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

Jerryd Bayless was a key contributor once again, scoring a season-high 19 points and knocking down his first four 3-point attempts before clearly running out of gas down the stretch. Bayless went from fourth-string point guard to the only true point man on the roster in a matter of days, and the fact that he was able to be effective in 37 minutes once again is impressive, to be sure. He finished the game with 19 points (6-13 FG, 4-6 3P, 3-4 FT), six assists, and three rebounds.. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JERRYD BAYLESS. A-

Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. D. Josh Okogie had another poor game, shooting a ghastly 1-of-10 from the field and only providing marginal resistance to Utah’s Mitchell. He only grabbed two rebounds and dished out a single assist in 30 minutes of play.

C. Taj Gibson was in early foul trouble and only played 18 minutes. He didn’t do much when he was on the floor, either, and probably should have ceded some of his second-half minutes to Anthony Tolliver as the Wolves were playing from behind for essentially the entire game.. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. TAJ GIBSON

B-. Dario Saric played 30 minutes due to Gibson’s foul trouble, but somehow only managed to hoist four shots. The Wolves tried to get him the ball in the post a handful of times, but the lack of spacing offered by the likes of Okogie and Gorgui Dieng were cause for crowded quarters, and Saric was simply ineffective on offense. He did lead the Wolves in rebounding with 11, with no other Wolves player grabbing more than six boards.. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC

Luol Deng suddenly appeared to be a part of the regular rotation. Or, at least, the version of the rotation that is saddled with injuries to Derrick Rose, Tyus Jones, Jeff Teague, and Robert Covington. But either way, he earned 26 minutes of play while Anthony Tolliver didn’t see the court at all. Deng even took fourth-quarter minutes away from Okogie, as the rookie was struggling mightily on offense. Deng finished with 15 points (5-6 FG, 3-4 3P, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, and two steals.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. LUOL DENG. A-

The rest of the players

Gorgui Dieng returned to regular playing time after leaving Friday’s game with a hip contusion, but only played 12 minutes. He did knock down a pair of corner 3-pointers and grabbed three rebounds in his stints, however.

Jared Terrell was the backup point guard once again, logging 13 minutes and putting up two points, two assists, and a steal without committing any turnovers.

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What’s Next?

The Wolves will enjoy two consecutive days off at home before hosting the reeling Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night at Target Center. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.