The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled a rabbit out of their hat and defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, halting a three-game losing streak in the process.
The Minnesota Timberwolves returned home after a frustrating 0-3 road trip. A loss on Tuesday would have effectively ended any slim hope remaining of a playoff spot for the Wolves.
But the Wolves showed up to play as they often do on their own home floor, building a double-digit lead in the first half, expanding it in the third quarter, and never allowing the Thunder to get any closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Things started out ominisously for the Wolves, with Karl-Anthony Towns picking up two cheap fouls early on and heading to the bench until midway through the second quarter.
Steven Adams executed OKC’s game plan to perfection early, but when Towns returned to the floor, he returned with a vengeance.
While Towns was out due to foul trouble, Derrick Rose came off the bench and kept the Wolves in front to the tune of six points at the end of the first quarter and 14 points at halftime.
Towns began to take the game over when he returned to the court in the second quarter and continued his rampage in the second half. Russell Westbrook didn’t really come to the party until late and Paul George struggled from the field in his first game back after missing three contests due to a shoulder injury.
The Thunder got within a 100-90 margin in the fourth quarter before a quick 7-0 run from the Wolves kept Oklahoma City at arm’s reach before they put them away in the final minutes.
The rest of the players
Anthony Tolliver (16 minutes), Tyus Jones (15 minutes), and Keita Bates-Diop (12 minutes) were all solid but didn’t contribute much to the box score. Bates-Diop had several runs at guarding George and did admirably, while Jones and Tolliver were both part of impressive Wolves runs as well.
Gorgui Dieng even saw run in this one, playing six first-half minutes with both Towns and Gibson in foul trouble. He did a great job contending with Adams in the paint and was a +4 while on the court.
Minnesota heads back out on the road on Wednesday night, visiting the red-hot Detroit Pistons for a 6 p.m. CT tip-off.