Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from Wolves win over Wizards

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 9: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 9: Derrick Rose #25 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves got back on track with an overtime win over the Washington Wizards, although a knee injury suffered by Karl-Anthony Towns is the bigger concern.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves trailed for much of the game before taking a late lead, only to see the Wizards force overtime after Karl-Anthony Towns headed to the locker room with an injured right knee.

There was no immediate update on Towns’ condition after the game, other than interim head coach Ryan Saunders saying that Towns was walking around the locker room and would undergo further testing.

If and when any news breaks regarding the severity of Towns’ injury, we’ll have reaction here at DWW. For now, let’s talk about the game.

The Wolves trailed big early, falling behind by as many as 16 points in the first half. They dug themselves a hole by once again showing pure disdain for playing defense while only being able to rely on Towns on offense.

Andrew Wiggins sat out due to a quad contusion, which pressed Keita Bates-Diop into his first start at the NBA level. While solid throughout the game, the offense only ran through Towns in this one, and early in the game, the Wizards keyed in on KAT with immediate double-teams.

Towns handled them well for the most part, passing the ball to the open man consistently and occasionally splitting the double team and scoring over and around the defense.

Nobody else came to the part on offense, however. Towns finished with 40 points, while the other four starters combined to score 35 points.

Thankfully, Taj Gibson (15 points and 13 rebounds) and Derrick Rose (29 points) played exceedingly well off the bench and were key in the Wolves’ comeback, which largely took place in the third quarter.

Minnesota finally tied the game partway through the fourth quarter, and after building a two possession lead in the final minute of the game, things seemed safe. But a quick bucket from the Wizards, followed by Towns’ injury and Bates-Diop making one of two free throws, Bradley Beal drained a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

Somehow, the Wolves mustered the energy to stick with it and emerge victorious in overtime despite the injury to Towns looming over the period. Rose came up huge, and the Wolves were able to hang on.

Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS. A. Towns was a monster once again, putting up 40 points (15-25 FG, 4-7 3P, 6-6 FT), 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block in 37 minutes. He scored early and often, abusing the Wizards in the low post and draining open threes when given any space at all. Basketball fans are crossing their fingers and hoping that his injury isn’t as bad as it initially appeared

DERRICK ROSE. A-. Derrick Rose was a huge part of this win, hitting big shots down the stretch in the fourth quarter and overtime. Overall, Rose had 29 points, and while it took him 23 shots to get there, he was effective in keeping the Wizards defense on their heels. He also pitched in three rebounds and three assists.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

B. Saric was effective, scoring 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, pulling down six rebounds and dishing out three assists in just 19 minutes. He did struggle a bit on defense, however, and the Wolves struggled to rebound the ball as a team with Saric on the floor. Saric had another solid night overall, however, although Gibson, Bates-Diop, <a rel=. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC

C-. <a href=. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE

Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. C. <a href=. Guard/Forward

A-. Taj Gibson had another great night off the bench, dropping 15 points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes. His defense was key down the stretch and he was an important contributor during the overtime period.. Power Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. TAJ GIBSON

B+. Anthony Tolliver was solid in this one, playing 26 minutes and putting up seven points and six rebounds. While he shot only 1-of-4 from beyond the arc, he made all four of his free throw attempts and actually rebounded his position fairly well, earning him second-half minutes in place of Saric.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY TOLLIVER

The rest of the players

Tyus Jones played 19 minutes and was his typically solid self, although there were a couple rocky possessions mixed in as the Wolves were attempting their second-half comeback.

Cameron Reynolds, fresh off inking his second 10-day contract, played 20 important minutes that included an awesome first-half stretch with a steal, a block, and a 3-pointer. Overall, he had five points, one rebound, one steal, and one block while shooting 2-of-6 from the floor.

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

What’s Next?

The Wolves will turn around and host the New York Knicks at 7 p.m. CT on Sunday. The Wolves beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in the first game after the All-Star break, but it certainly seems unlikely that they’ll have Towns at their disposal this time around.