Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from win over Hornets

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.

Final
Minnesota Timberwolves
121
Charlotte Hornets
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.

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

Center, Minnesota Timberwolves

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.
Andrew Wiggins was much better overall against the Hornets than he was on Wednesday in Brooklyn. He shot 6-of-13 from the floor with four rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block. Wiggins missed all three of his 3-point attempts and still hasn’t made one on the season, and he still attempted a handful of long mid-range jumpers that he also missed. But he was decidedly solid, and the Wolves will take that as long as Towns is completely and utterly dominant." >

ANDREW WIGGINS

Wing, Minnesota Timberwolves

B

Andrew Wiggins was much better overall against the Hornets than he was on Wednesday in Brooklyn. He shot 6-of-13 from the floor with four rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block. Wiggins missed all three of his 3-point attempts and still hasn’t made one on the season, and he still attempted a handful of long mid-range jumpers that he also missed. But he was decidedly solid, and the Wolves will take that as long as Towns is completely and utterly dominant.
Robert Covington had an extremely quiet night, putting up just eight points and four rebounds in only 18 minutes. He left the game with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter and the Wolves up by seven and never needed to reenter the contest. Covington missed all four of his 3-point attempts in this one, but that won’t be the norm." >

ROBERT COVINGTON

Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves

C

Robert Covington had an extremely quiet night, putting up just eight points and four rebounds in only 18 minutes. He left the game with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter and the Wolves up by seven and never needed to reenter the contest. Covington missed all four of his 3-point attempts in this one, but that won’t be the norm.
Jeff Teague also had a quiet night, not scoring at all in the first half and finishing with only four points and five assists. He had just one turnover in 22 minutes, and wasn’t needed at all in the fourth quarter." >

JEFF TEAGUE

Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

B-

Jeff Teague also had a quiet night, not scoring at all in the first half and finishing with only four points and five assists. He had just one turnover in 22 minutes, and wasn’t needed at all in the fourth quarter.
Treveon Graham was much more efficient in this one than he was in the opener, making four of his eight shot attempts and ending up with 12 points and two rebounds in 23 minutes against one of his former teams. He continues to look like a solid addition to the roster as a versatile contributor on the wing." >

TREVEON GRAHAM

Wing, Minnesota Timberwolves

B+

Treveon Graham was much more efficient in this one than he was in the opener, making four of his eight shot attempts and ending up with 12 points and two rebounds in 23 minutes against one of his former teams. He continues to look like a solid addition to the roster as a versatile contributor on the wing.
Josh Okogie ended up playing the second-most minutes on the team in this one, and once again was a plus-minus monster. Two nights after being a +22 in just 14 minutes in Brooklyn, Okogie was a +28 in 26 minutes and put up 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, plus four rebounds and three assists." >

JOSH OKOGIE

Guard/Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves

A

Josh Okogie ended up playing the second-most minutes on the team in this one, and once again was a plus-minus monster. Two nights after being a +22 in just 14 minutes in Brooklyn, Okogie was a +28 in 26 minutes and put up 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, plus four rebounds and three assists.
Jake Layman was ultra-aggressive, getting up 13 shots in 25 minutes. He only made four of them, but they were all 3-pointers and he finished with 12 points. Layman only grabbed one rebound and had one block but also racked up three turnovers. He’ll have better games, but at least he was active and not shy from beyond the arc." >

JAKE LAYMAN

Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves

B-

Jake Layman was ultra-aggressive, getting up 13 shots in 25 minutes. He only made four of them, but they were all 3-pointers and he finished with 12 points. Layman only grabbed one rebound and had one block but also racked up three turnovers. He’ll have better games, but at least he was active and not shy from beyond the arc.
Shabazz Napier had another rough shooting night, making only one of his six shots. His final line was still fantastic for a backup point guard, however: five points, nine assists, six rebounds and a steal in 21 minutes. He’s already proving to be a solid, steady hand to lead the second unit." >

SHABAZZ NAPIER

Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

B

Shabazz Napier had another rough shooting night, making only one of his six shots. His final line was still fantastic for a backup point guard, however: five points, nine assists, six rebounds and a steal in 21 minutes. He’s already proving to be a solid, steady hand to lead the second unit.

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.

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.