Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from win over Miami Heat

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 27: Tyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat defends against Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 27: Tyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat defends against Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves improved their record to 3-0 due to a late push to propel them past the the previously-undefeated Miami Heat.

110. 116. 86. Final. 109

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ home opener started out swimmingly, as they built a double-digit lead by the end of the opening frame.

But the Miami Heat stormed back to take a halftime lead, and the Wolves couldn’t get back on top until the closing minutes of the game. That was enough, however, as they ultimately held on to win by seven and improve to 3-0 on the season.

The Wolves used yet another monster first quarter from Karl-Anthony Towns to build their 36-23 lead. Towns was scoring in the paint and from beyond the arc with ease, and the Wolves were firing on all cylinders.

The bench unit played well when Towns initially went to the bench, but it was around the time he returned to the floor midway through the second quarter that the Heat began knocking down 3-pointers from all over the court.

The Heat had a two-point lead at halftime and continued to build upon it in the third quarter. The Wolves struggled to keep Miami away from the rim for the remainder of the game. It was primarily their guards that were able to get to the basket at will, as the Wolves held the Heat big men in check for the most part and won the rebounding battle fairly easily as well.

The Heat managed to lead by as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter before the Wolves came to life. Jeff Teague showed more aggression than he has in well over a year, getting into the paint and knocking down floaters and even pulling the trigger on 3-point attempts.

Once Teague pulled the Wolves even, Andrew Wiggins made his first 3-pointer of the season, quickly followed by another and then a third, which sent Target Center and the Wolves bench into a frenzy.

Once Wiggins went off, that was that. The Heat hit a couple of late 3-pointers to extend the game, but the Wolves finally made a few free throws in a row after struggling from the charity stripe all night long.

B. Towns started out this game where he left off in Charlotte on Friday night. He cooled off as the game went on, however, and ended up with a relatively inefficient night. That said, it’s hard to complain too much about 23 points (8-21 FG, 4-11 3P, 3-6 FT), 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block in 35 minutes.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS. A-. Wiggins struggled mightily for nearly seven-eighths of this game, and especially from beyond the arc. He missed his first six threes of the game and was 0-for-the season until he made four in a row to close out the game. For as bad as he was early, his clutch play down the stretch and 25 points (9-18 FG, 4-10 3P, 3-4 FT) and six rebounds ultimately made for a solid performance.. Wing

B. Covington struggled a bit once again, but still hit a couple of big long-range shots and continues to be one of the more consistent cutters on the team. Tasked with holding down the starting power forward stop, Covington has done a great job on the boards thus far this season. He finished with 11 points (3-10 FG, 2-8 3P, 3-4 FT), 10 rebounds, three assists and one steal.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON

A. This was one of the best games Teague has played since the 2017-18 campaign that ended with the Wolves in the playoffs. Teague was quiet early but finished with an ultra-efficient 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including 1-for-3 from beyond the arc and 10-for-11 from the free throw line. He also added eight assists.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE

Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM. D. <a rel=. Wing

B+. Okogie had a solid all-around game. Per usual, a couple of hustle plays assisted greatly in stemming the tide and eventually turning the game around. He finished with eight points on eight shots, six rebounds, two assists and two steals.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

B. Layman finished fifth on the team in minutes, logging 26 off the bench. He had six points and three rebounds, shooting 3-of-9 from the field but missing all three of his 3-point attempts. Layman did grab three rebounds and had two assists and a steal, but outside of a nice drive and thunderous dunk in the first quarter, Layman was relatively quiet.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JAKE LAYMAN

Napier had another nice night, finishing with 12 points (2-5 FG, 2-4 3P, 6-6 FT), three rebounds, two assists, and two steals. He’s stabilized a largely inexperienced second unit that doesn’t have much scoring punch, and finally is starting to see his 3-point shot fall with some consistency.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. SHABAZZ NAPIER. B+

Other Players

Noah Vonleh had another great performance, finishing with eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor and grabbing three rebounds and a steal. While the Wolves struggle on the glass with Towns on the bench, Vonleh held his own against a larger Heat frontline.

Jarrett Culver had a decent game, including a couple of nice passes in the pick-and-roll game on the offensive end of the floor. He’s still looking to make his first NBA 3-pointer.

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

Up Next

The Wolves head back out on the road after a one-game homestand, although they’ll get two days in a row off before hitting the court again. They’ll head to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, and there’s a real chance that Joel Embiid will remain out with a sprained ankle.