Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from final game of the season loss to Nuggets

DENVER, CO - APRIL 10: Dario Saric #36 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - APRIL 10: Dario Saric #36 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Paul Millsap #4 of the Denver Nuggets. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves finished the 2018-19 season with a third consecutive loss as the tables were turned from last year’s Game 82.

99. 73. Final. 95. 86

All things considered, this was probably a fitting end to a disappointing season for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

With a chance to knock divisional rival Denver out of the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference playoffs, the Wolves led by six points heading to the fourth quarter and by 12 points with under four minutes left in the game. But the Nuggets finished things off with a 16-0 run and cemented the second seed in the West.

The Wolves played without Karl-Anthony Towns for the second-straight game as he sat out with knee inflammation. Andrew Wiggins played like a man possessed, and while his final line of 25 points on 20 shots isn’t all that impressive, he was good all night long and should have been going to the free throw line with a chance to take the lead in the final minute of the game.

Wiggins dominated the first quarter and helped the Wolves stay in the game early on. Then, Gorgui Dieng and Cameron Reynolds took over. They were three of the only four Wolves players who scored in double digits but did enough to make a run at winning a game in the Mile High City.

The Wolves’ team defense was as good as it’s been a long time, too, and until a couple of breakdowns on the defensive glass and the subsequent scramble that led to a pair of devestatting 3-pointers from the Nuggets, it was an impressive team performance.

Wiggins was triple-teamed and fouled with Minnesota down one with less than a half-minute remaining as his entire left arm was raked by Nikola Jokic. But the official didn’t call the foul and the Wolves were forced to foul on the other end of the floor. After a pair of missed free throws and a missed three from Wiggins, the game was all but over.

A-. Wiggins had a good game, scoring from beyond the arc, in the post, in the paint, and distributing the ball with surprising willingness and accuracy. He finished with 25 points (11-20 FG, 3-6 3P, 0-1 FT), five rebounds, and four assists. Somewhat surprisingly, he only attempted one free throws, but he also only turned the ball over twice in 36 minutes.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS

Minnesota Timberwolves. DARIO SARIC. C. Saric struggled for the most part, scoring 11 points but shooting a terrible 4-of-13 from the floor and missing all five of his 3-point attempts. He also had seven rebounds and three assists but had a rough night in a game in which the Wolves needed him to show up.. Power Forward

C. Okogie had another quiet night, missing all three of his shot attempts in 17 minutes and losing playing time to Reynolds. It was an odd last few games of the season for the rookie, but his body of work throughout the year will be enough to make the team feel good about him heading into the offseason.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

Jones was solid, but this was clearly his worst game in the last couple of weeks. He finished with eight points and eight assists but shot only 4-of-12 from the field, missing his only two 3-point attempts and failing to get to the line. He somehow managed to not turn the ball over a single time yet again, however, making this a decent all-around game for the Minnesota native.. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. TYUS JONES. B

Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. GORGUI DIENG. A-. Gorgui Dieng was a focal point of the Wolves offense in this one, attempting a whopping 20 shots from the field. He made 11 of them en route to 18 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Dieng was 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and also had three steals and two assists. His performance in the pick-and-roll game on both ends of the floor was fantastic, as always.

C+. Tolliver had another weird game, finishing with three points, three assists, and two rebounds and shooting just 1-of-5 from the floor in 21 minutes. His second stint in Minnesota was disappointing for a number of reasons, but it remains clear that Tolly will still be a rotation player for a good team in the near future.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY TOLLIVER

CAMERON REYNOLDS. A. Cameron Reynolds had his best game as an NBAer to date, scoring a career-high 19 points (7-11 FG, 5-7 3P) and contributing six rebounds and one assist in 26 minutes. In his 19-game stint with the Wolves, Reynolds proved himself worthy of an NBA roster spot, if not a rotational role.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

The rest of the players

Keita Bates-Diop had four points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes and had a couple of impressive defensive plays and a nice fastbreak dunk as well.

Two-way player C.J. Williams had his best game of the season, too, scoring six points on a pair of 3-point shots in 18 minutes. Fellow two-way player Jared Terrell only played six minutes in relief of Jones and finished as a +2 in the plus-minus column.

Next. NCAA tournament prospects for Wolves to consider. dark

What’s Next?

The offseason, that’s what. The playoff-less offseason that Wolves fans have been used to for a decade-and-a-half, save for last April.