Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from loss to Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC -  MARCH 3: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC -  MARCH 3: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves dropped their third consecutive game with a disappointing loss to the Washington Wizards in our nation’s capital.

Final. 121. 86. 135. 142

The Minnesota Timberwolves entered the week needing to win at least two, if not three of a series of winnable games if they wanted to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race.

Instead, they went 1-3 with consecutive losses in Atlanta, Indiana, and Washington after winning at home against Sacramento. Now, the Wolves are 5.5 games back from the No. 8 spot in the West with only 18 contests left to play.

It’s all but over for Minnesota, and they went with hardly a whimper in this one.

Nobody except for Karl-Anthony Towns, Taj Gibson, and Derrick Rose showed up to play consistently on offense, and there was hardly any defense played at all from the team in the black Classic jerseys.

While the Wolves led for much of the first half and took a two-point lead into halftime, the Wizards built a 13-point lead in the third quarter. Minnesota battled back to within a single possession a couple of times, but the Wizards kept stretching the margin back out to double-digits.

A final push midway through the fourth quarter was enough to do it, and the Wolves clearly rolled over and gave up as soon as things appeared to be out of reach.

It was a disappointing way for the season to effectively come to an end, and we’ll see if interim head coach Ryan Saunders can right the ship over the final five weeks of the season to make everyone feel a little bit better about things and hopefully keep his job on a permanent basis.

Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS. A. Karl-Anthony Towns was great once again, threatening a triple-double with 28 points (12-18 FG, 2-6 3P, 2-2 FT), 10 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one block. He passed out of double-teams with finesse early in the game but the Wolves failed to get cutters open as the game wore on. Towns has been the only player on the Wolves to consistently show up over the past week or so, and he’ll need to continue doing so if Minnesota is to remain competitive down the stretch of the season.. Center

C-. <a rel=. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS

B. <a rel=. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC

TAJ GIBSON. A. Taj Gibson came off the bench and was the Wolves’ second-best all-around player, finishing with 14 points (6-8 FG, 0-1 3P, 2-2 FT), 10 rebounds, and two assists in 21 minutes. He had a couple of nice tip-ins around the glass and played his typically solid defense throughout the game.. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

B+. Derrick Rose played an important role in the Wolves building a lead and hanging around for stretches in the second half and was the team’s second-leading scorer with 18 points, but it took him 17 shots to do it. He also dished out three assists in 24 minutes.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. DERRICK ROSE

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

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

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

The rest of the players

Tyus Jones played only 18 minutes in this one. He was fine, with a line of four points, three rebounds, and two assists.

Anthony Tolliver missed four 3-point attempts in his first-half stint with the game obviously still in the balance. He reentered the game in the fourth quarter with the Wolves already well on their way to losing a promptly drained his first 3-point try. He finished with six points and two rebounds in 14 minutes.

Gorgui Dieng played for the first time since the All-Star break, notching two minutes in garbage time. Also, Cameron Reynolds made his NBA debut and scored a bucket on a one-handed runner from the baseline.

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What’s Next?

Minnesota returns home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. It’s first of two times this year that the Thunder will visit the Twin Cities, and the Wolves already have a 2-0 lead in the season series by way of two impressive victories in OKC.