Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from win over Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 25: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket against Devonte' Graham #4 of the Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - OCTOBER 25: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives to the basket against Devonte' Graham #4 of the Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves improved to 2-0 on the young season after dominating the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night by a final score of 121-99.

170. Final. 121. 86. 99

The Minnesota Timberwolves are 2-0, and Karl-Anthony Towns has yet to be slowed down through two games as they head back to the Twin Cities for their home opener on Sunday evening.

Towns followed up a 36-point, 14-rebound game on Wednesday in Brooklyn with a 37-point, 15-rebound, 8-assist, 4-steal game in Charlotte on Friday night. Oh, and he only needed 28 minutes to do it.

The Wolves came out of the gate sluggish, trailing by a 19-4 margin early in the first quarter and by 12 points with under five minutes remaining in the opening frame.

With Cody Zeller a late scratch for personal reasons, the Hornets started Bismack Biyombo at center. He did an okay job slowing Towns down at the outset, as the Wolves superstar didn’t attempt a shot until more than three minutes had gone by.

But the visitors used a flurry at the end of the period to pull with a 32-30 score headed into the second quarter. At that point, it was curtains for Charlotte, as the KAT was out of the bag.

By halftime, Towns already had 20 points, eight rebounds, and six assists as the Wolves were ahead by two points. And in a reversal from Wednesday’s third quarter, Minnesota dominated the frame by a 45-25 margin.

With the Wolves firmly in command, Towns sat on the bench to open the fourth quarter but did reenter for a few moments as the Hornets kept the game within about 20 points. Eventually, the Wolves pulled away enough to allow Towns and the rest of the starters to take the rest of the night off.

Minnesota once again struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 12-of-38 (31.6 percent). But they were dominant on the glass, winning that battle by a 52-42 margin, and controlled the free throw line, knocking down 23-of-31 (74.2 percent) from the charity stripe compared to the Hornets’ 13-of-26 (50 percent).

The Wolves’ offense ran smoothly through Towns, as he scored in a variety of ways and with shocking ease. For a stretch in the second quarter, Towns legitimately looked like a high-schooler playing on a Nerf hoop with a bunch of second-graders.

Ryan Saunders’ crew is now 2-0, and will have a real shot to extend their winning streak against a Miami Heat squad that won’t have Jimmy Butler on Sunday at Target Center.

A. The only blemish on Karl-Anthony Towns’ record in this game was his uncharacteristically terrible night from the free throw line, where he missed his first four attempts and finished just 7-of-13. That said, his line of 37 points (13-18 FG, 4-7 3P, 7-13 FT), 15 points, eight assists, four steals, and two blocks in 28 minutes is … really, really good.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

<a rel=. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS. B

C. <a rel=. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON

B-. <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE

<a rel=. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM. B+

Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. A. <a rel=. Guard/Forward

JAKE LAYMAN. B-. <a rel=. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

<a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. SHABAZZ NAPIER. B

Other Players

Every player who dressed got into the game in what ended up being an easy blowout.

Jarrett Culver only played 14 minutes and struggled, missing all three of his field goal attempts. Noah Vonleh had a solid performance, putting up seven points and grabbing five rebounds in 14 minutes.

Jordan Bell saw his first regular season minutes in a Wolves uniform and scored a couple of buckets and grabbed five rebounds in only five minutes.

Gorgui Dieng had two points and two rebounds in six minutes, and two-way player Kelan Martin got up three shots in six minutes but missed all of them.

Next. The Wolves will win 40 games in 2019-20. dark

Up Next

The Wolves head back to Minneapolis for the home opener to host the Miami Heat on Sunday at 6 p.m. CT. Jimmy Butler will reportedly miss the game due to personal reasons, and the Wolves will have a legitimate chance to go 3-0.