Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from win vs. Thunder

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 5: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 5: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

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.

120. 149. 131. 86. Final

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.

A+. Karl-Anthony Towns continued his torrid pace, dropping 41 points (15-27 FG, 3-5 3P, 8-10 FT), 14 rebounds, two steals, and one assist. He only played 30 minutes due to first-half foul trouble, but was unstoppable when on the floor. OKC’s Steven Adams only had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Towns had a big hand in limiting him on the other end of the court. It was simply yet another dominant performance from KAT as he tries to drag his squad back into the postseason conversation.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

A-. <a href=. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS

B+. <a href=. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC

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

The Timberwolves would not have won this game if it wasn’t for Rose’s second quarter. He scored seemingly every time down the court and allowed the home team to hold serve while the defense struggled with Towns off the floor due to foul trouble. Rose finished with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, four rebounds, and two assists.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. DERRICK ROSE. A-

JOSH OKOGIE. B. This was a weird game for <a rel=. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

B+. Taj Gibson came off the bench again and was solid against one of his former teams, putting up nine points and six rebounds in 20 minutes. His defense was good as always and he had a couple of big put-back buckets on offense.. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. TAJ GIBSON

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.

Best-case scenario for Wolves' finish to season. dark. Next

What’s Next?

Minnesota heads back out on the road on Wednesday night, visiting the red-hot Detroit Pistons for a 6 p.m. CT tip-off.