Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from win over New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 22: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves managed to pull out a relatively easy win against an inferior New York Knicks despite the first missed game of Karl-Anthony Towns‘ career.

115. 86. Final. 104. 27

Karl-Anthony Towns had started the most consecutive games to start a career of any player since the league began tracking the “games started” statistic, according to the Minnesota Timberwolves broadcast on Fox Sports North.

That streak came to an end on Friday night in New York, however, following a car accident that Towns was involved in on Thursday in Minneapolis. On Friday, news broke that Towns had entered the NBA’s concussion protocol, ensuring that he would miss the game.

With Gorgui Dieng already missing the game due to personal reasons, the Wolves were missing their only two natural centers on the roster. Robert Covington remains out, of course, although Tyus Jones returned after missing the past 13 games with a sprained ankle.

On this night, the Wolves trailed by four points heading into the second quarter after Damyean Dotson made five 3-pointers en route to 18 first-quarter points to lead the Knicks.

Predictably, Dotson cooled off and the rest of his team stayed cold, and the Wolves were able to find their own offensive rhythm.

The Wolves outscored the Knicks by a 37-25 margin in the second frame to take an eight-point lead into the break. The second half saw the Wolves slowly grow their lead by being aggressive on both ends of the floor and avoiding turnovers.

The lead ballooned to the high teens before the Knicks used a run midway through the fourth quarter to pull within 10 points. But a quick 5-0 run from the Wolves quieted the Madison Square Garden crowd and all but secured the victory.

There were no Herculean efforts from individual players along the way or in total, but the Wolves enjoyed six double-digit scoring efforts and solid games all the way around.

ANDREW WIGGINS. B. This is a tough one. It’s hard to reward a player who shot under 33 percent for the game (5-for-16 from the field), but Wiggins did shoot 3-for-5 from beyond the arc and chip-in six rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and an assist in a team-high 35 minutes. He was aggressive when the Wolves needed him to be, and outside of struggling to finish through contact in the paint, he was overall solid in this one.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves. TAJ GIBSON. A. It’s hard to underscore just how valuable <a rel=. Power Forward

A-. <a rel=. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC

Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. B. <a rel=

JEFF TEAGUE. B+. <a rel=. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

A-. <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. DERRICK ROSE

A-. Luol Deng was about as good as a player could possibly be while only contributing seven points and four rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench. He played mostly power forward but continued to be a versatile defender and an effective cutter on offense.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. LUOL DENG

Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. TYUS JONES. B. Tyus Jones’ score is certainly a bit of an incomplete as well in his return from an ankle injury. He had four points, three rebounds, and one assist in 17 minutes.

B. <a rel=. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. KEITA BATES-DIOP

It remains to be seen if Towns will be able to travel with the team on the charter plane to Milwaukee on Friday night, and/or if he’ll be able to play given that he’s in the league’s concussion protocol.

We also don’t have any information on Dieng, so the Wolves could be short-handed on a tough road back-to-back once again.

Checking in on the Iowa Wolves. dark. Next

What’s Next?

The Timberwolves tip-off against the Bucks in Milwaukee at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Bucks, of course, are 44-14 and carrying the league’s best record and just defeated the Boston Celtics on Thursday night.