The Minnesota Timberwolves put up a solid fight on the second night of a road back-to-back but ultimately fell short to the mighty Milwaukee Bucks.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were coming off of a fairly easy win in New York on Friday night despite Karl-Anthony Towns missing a game for the first time his career. But, as expected, the second night of a road-road back-to-back was a tough test, and the Wolves ultimately fell to the Bucks by a final score of 140-128.
Towns (concussion protocol) and Gorgui Dieng (personal reasons) each missed their second consecutive game, but the Wolves still gave the team with the league’s best record a run for their money.
The Wolves trailed by three points at the end of the first quarter as they missed a series of shots in the paint and allowed the Bucks to drain 3-point shots at will but used a late run to pull within striking distance.
The second quarter unfolded similarly, and the Wolves’ makeshift bench unit banded together to gain ground on the Bucks. Derrick Rose scored on the last possession of the first half to give the Wolves a 70-69 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was also a near-carbon copy, as the Wolves managed a two-point lead heading into the final frame.
Predictably, the home crowd got behind their squad in the fourth quarter and the Bucks rode a flurry of 3-pointers to build a double-digit lead midway through the stanza. Minnesota pulled back within nine points in the final four minutes, but that was as close as they got.
The Wolves enjoyed a strong first half from Anthony Tolliver (17 points on eight shot attempts) and solid performances from Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson and Andrew Wiggins, but they couldn’t quite account for Towns’ absence, especially on defense.
All that said, it was an impressively energetic performance from a team that was playing for the second time in 24 hours and going up against the league’s best.
For as much as this win was a good ol’ fashioned moral victory, the season is getting short and the Wolves need to stop racking those up and start getting some real wins.
It is fair to assume that Karl-Anthony Towns would have a real chance of returning to the lineup at home on Monday night, but that remains to be seen.
The Timberwolves will host the Sacramento Kings at 7 p.m. CT on Monday as they look to even the season series against one of the primary contenders for a final playoff spot in the Western Conference.