Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from win over New York Knicks

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 10: Head Coach Ryan Saunders and Jeff Teague #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 10: Head Coach Ryan Saunders and Jeff Teague #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves won their second game in 24 hours by beating the New York Knicks while Karl-Anthony Towns sat out with a knee injury.

92. 27. 103. 86. Final

For the second time in 24 hours, the Minnesota Timberwolves came away with a home win over a poor Eastern Conference opponent.

And for the second time in just over two weeks, the Wolves defeated the New York Knicks despite not having Karl-Anthony Towns at their disposal. It was an ugly game overall, although there were several impressive individual performances on the Wolves side of things.

The first quarter was beyond sloppy, which was to be expected from two squads who had played on Saturday, and the Wolves were using a makeshift starting lineup with rookies Josh Okogie and Keita Bates-Diop and Taj Gibson attempting to matchup with the massive DeAndre Jordan at center.

But Minnesota carried a lead of the slimmest of margins into the second quarter, and they gradually gained separation as the frame wore on. The Wolves’ second unit was impressive, with Tyus Jones and Gorgui Dieng stepping up alongside a series of teammates that they haven’t spent much time on the court with.

In a complete reversal from a horrendous 2-for-14 shooting night on Saturday, Jeff Teague keyed the Wolves all night long. He hit a 3-pointer from the edge of the center-court logo with 0.6 left on the clock before halftime, stretching Minnesota’s lead to 10 points at the break.

Minnesota effectively put things away in the third quarter, leading by as many as 20 points before settling for a 15-point lead heading into the final frame.

The Knicks got to within 10 points but never closer as Taj Gibson and Bates-Diop combined to do plenty of dirty work down low and a Teague-Tyus backcourt continued to play well. (Derrick Rose didn’t play in the second half after seeing just eight minutes in the first half, and the presumption here is that he aggravated one of his recurring injuries.)

It was obviously a must-win for the Wolves, although they still sit a full six games back of the Spurs for the No. 8 spot after San Antonio upset Milwaukee on Sunday night.

JEFF TEAGUE. A. Jeff Teague was awesome. After a dud on Saturday, Teague put up 20 points (8-18 FG, 1-6 3P, 3-4 FT), 10 assists, three assists, two blocks and a steal. He still struggled with his outside jumper as the Knicks continuously dared him to shoot it, but his decision-making was much improved and he scored in the paint frequently.. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

A. Taj Gibson had a big night filling in for Towns, dropping a season-high 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting and pulling down eight rebounds in 30 minutes. While he struggled with the length of DeAndre Jordan, the Knicks center only played 18 minutes and Gibson dominated proceedings when Jordan was on the bench.. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. TAJ GIBSON

B. Saric had another solid game, tallying 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists but only playing 21 minutes. The Wolves once again received solid minutes from <a rel=. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC

Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. C+. Josh Okogie had another tough night. His final line of two points, three steals, two assists, three blocks, and one rebound in 26 minutes is decent, and while his shooting troubles continued (1-for-6 on the night), he was active defensively and had a positive impact on the game nonetheless.. Guard/Forward

B-. Anthony Tolliver had another all-around solid game despite issues from beyond the arc. Tolliver was just 1-of-7 from the field and 1-of-6 on 3-point attempts but grabbed seven rebounds and was active defensively in his 27 minutes.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY TOLLIVER

Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. DERRICK ROSE. C+. Derrick Rose had an okay first half but did not appear in the second half after apparently re-aggravating one of his injuries. He had four points on 2-of-5 shooting.

Keita Bates-Diop received his second consecutive start and bested all of his career-highs set just 24 hours prior. In 35 minutes, Bates-Diop finished with 18 points (7-12 FG, 2-3 3P, 2-2 FT), six rebounds, two blocks, two steals, and an assist. He was aggressive offensively and active defensively in yet another impressive performance.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. KEITA BATES-DIOP. A

B+. Tyus Jones had a bounce-back game of his own on Sunday, scoring 13 points on 10 shots including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. He also pitched in two assists, two rebounds, one steal, and one block in 20 minutes.. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. TYUS JONES

The rest of the players

Cameron Reynolds played 18 valuable minutes once again, hitting a key 3-pointer that extended the Wolves’ lead right after the Knicks had cut it to 10 with a few minutes left in the game.

In Towns’ absence, Gorgui Dieng played 18 minutes and finished with four points and five rebounds.

Jerryd Bayless played three second-half minutes to spell Jones and Teague in the absence of Rose in the second half. Two-way players C.J. Williams and Jared Terrell each played two garbage-time minutes.

Still some silver linings to Wolves' season.... dark. Next

What’s Next?

The Timberwolves head to Denver to take on the Nuggets on Tuesday night. The game will be on TNT and has a late tip-off of 9:30 p.m. CT.