Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from loss to Grizzlies

MEMPHIS, TN - FEBRUARY 5: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
MEMPHIS, TN - FEBRUARY 5: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Timberwolves trailed nearly wire-to-wire while dropping their second consecutive game, this time to a shorthanded Memphis Grizzlies team.

Playing just their third game in the last seven days, the Minnesota Timberwolves got off to a painfully slow start and spent most of the night battling back, only to see the game end in heartbreak.

The Wolves were not ready to play, falling behind by a 25-6 margin to a Grizzlies team with only nine players dressed and the likes of Marc Gasol, JaMychal Green, Joakim Noah, and Kyle Anderson all sitting out.

Minnesota got within single digits by the late stages of the second quarter, riding a 13-point first half from Dario Saric and solid play from Karl-Anthony Towns. But the Grizzlies used a surge in the final two minutes of the half to build their lead back up to 12 points by halftime.

The Wolves pulled within one point in the third quarter before Memphis took control once again, and a similar swing took place again in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies built their lead back up to 10 points with under five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter before the Wolves battled their way back one final time.

Minnesota tied the game on a pair of free throws from Towns with 15.7 seconds on the clock. On the ensuing possession, Mike Conley missed a step-back 3-pointer after Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Tolliver switched the pick, leaving the less-mobile Tolliver on the Grizzlies’ best player.

Thankfully, Conley missed the open shot, but in the scramble to corral the loose ball, Josh Okogie was called for a personal foul with just 0.1 remaining on the clock. It was a questionable call, and it was also questionable whether or not there should have been more time remaining on the clock. The play was not reviewed, however, and Justin Holiday drained two free throws to seal the win.

Let’s run through the player grades from this one.

A-. Karl-Anthony Towns was fantastic once again, notching 26 points (8-14 FG, 0-2 3P, 10-10 FT), 18 rebounds, and three assists. The only real downside to his night was a poor start alongside the rest of his teammates, as well as a few missed shots from in close that simply rimmed out. The loss was hardly Towns’ fault, of course, as he continues to be head and shoulders above anyone else on the team.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

Andrew Wiggins had a horrific game, once again appearing lackadasical on defense and standing around too much on offense. He scored just 12 points on 18 shot attempts while turning the ball over three times and shooting only 1-of-6 on 3-point attempts. It was yet another disappointing effort from Wiggins, to say the least.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS. D

Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JERRYD BAYLESS. C. <a rel=

Josh Okogie had one of his better games among recent outings, providing plenty of energy en route to 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and pulling down five rebounds in 26 minutes. There was a stretch early in the first quarter that contributed to the huge hole the Wolves found themselves in, but outside of that, Okogie was solid.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. B

F. <a rel=. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. TAJ GIBSON

Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC. A+. Dario Saric was fantastic, scoring 13 first-half points and helping to keep the Wolves in the game while they were struggling on both ends of the floor. He scored in the post, put the ball on the floor, and shot 3-pointers with confidence. Ultimately, Saric flashed his all-around skill as the future next to Karl-Anthony Towns to the tune of 22 points (7-11 FG, 4-7 3P, 4-4 FT), seven rebounds, and five assists. With the caveat that single-game plus-minus numbers aren’t totally reliable, Saric’s mark was a +29 while Gibson’s was a -26.. Power Forward

A. <a rel=. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. LUOL DENG

The rest of the players

Gorgui Dieng had a solid game, putting up eight points and six rebounds in only 12 minutes of play. Towns was not in foul trouble and was fantastic when on the court, so Dieng’s opportunities were limited.

Anthony Tolliver had a disappointing night, turning down open 3-point shots on more than a couple of occasions. He played 13 minutes, logging only two rebounds and one steal.

Isaiah Canaan had another rough night, shooting 0-for-4 from the field in 14 minutes, although he did dish out six assists.

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What’s Next?

The Wolves head to Orlando to take on the up-and-down Magic at 6 p.m. CT on Thursday evening in what is essentially another must-win game.