Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from win over Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Jeff Teague #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles the ball against Ish Smith #14 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 02: Jeff Teague #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves dribbles the ball against Ish Smith #14 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves dominated the Washington Wizards, leading by double figures for most of the game despite the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns.

86. 109. 142. Final. 131

The Minnesota Timberwolves are now 1-0 without All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns in the lineup.

With Towns sidelined for the first of his two-game suspension that was levied following the altercation between he and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid on Wednesday, the Wolves didn’t skip a beat. They built a double-digit lead in the first quarter and held the Washington Wizards at arm’s length all night long.

The Wolves led by a 35-18 score in the opening frame before the Wizards gained some ground against the Wolves bench, making things at least somewhat interesting. But as Ryan Saunders began to re-insert his starters over the course of the second quarter, Minnesota built their lead back up to 14 at halftime.

The third quarter was all Wolves, as a flurry of 3-pointers and superior rebounding led the visitors to a 36-16 advantage in the period. Minnesota’s lead ballooned over 30 points early in the final frame, and that was that.

The first half belonged to Gorgui Dieng and Jeff Teague, as Dieng busted the Wizards’ attempt at a zone defense by knocking down a few 10-footers in the paint, and Teague was more than content to take Isaiah Thomas into the paint nearly every time down the floor.

Andrew Wiggins and Robert Covington both had fantastic games as well, and Treveon Graham held Bradley Beal in check from the opening tap.

This was a complete and dominant win from the Wolves, and showed the team’s ability to band together in the face of adversity. Even though the Wizards are now just 1-4, they only lost to Houston by a single point on Wednesday. Plus, it would have been easy for the Wolves to mail it in without their best player available, but Saunders had his squad ready to play.

Player Grades

Wiggins followed up a disappointing performance with a solid one. He led the Wolves in scoring with 21 points (7-16 FG, 4-9 3P, 3-4 FT) and also chipped in six assists and five rebounds. There were a couple of other instances in which Wiggins collapsed the defense and found a teammate only to have said teammate miss an open shot. It was a good night for Wiggins with Towns unavailable. Now, we’re back to looking for consistency.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS. A-

A. This was easily Covington’s best game of the season. He dropped 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, including a couple of closely-guarded bombs that he drained as the Wolves were pulling away in the third quarter. Covington also added four rebounds, two blocks and an assist.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON

A. This was Teague’s third consecutive solid game, and one of his better all-around game in a Wolves uniform. He had 15 points (6-12 FG, 2-5 3P, 1-1 FT), 13 assists, four rebounds, and three steals in just 28 minutes. Teague was aggressive in the first half in looking for his own shot but was on-point when distributing the ball as well.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE

Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM. B+. Graham only played 14 minutes due to early foul trouble, but he did an outstanding job holding Beal in check. He finished with four points, three rebounds and an assist and again provided plenty of intangibles for Ryan Saunders.. Wing

B+. For Okogie’s standards, this was actually a fairly quiet game. In a team-high 29 minutes, Okogie had nine points (4-6 FG, 0-2 3P, 1-2 FT), four assists, four rebounds, and two steals. He was only a +4 in a game that the Wolves won by 22, but played well within the offense and his usual, game-wrecking self on the defensive end of the floor.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

B. Layman had a great first half, ultimately finishing with 14 points (5-10 FG, 2-3 3P, 2-2 FT), three rebounds and a block. He was active in the offense, even putting the ball on the floor and getting into the paint a couple of times. It was a solid all-around performance once again from Layman.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JAKE LAYMAN

GORGUI DIENG. A+. Gorgui Dieng started his third game over the last three seasons and dominated proceedings early, scoring 15 points and pulling down four rebounds by halftime. He finished with 18 points (7-9 FG, 2-2 3P, 2-3 FT), eight rebounds, three blocks, two steals and an assist in just 24 minutes. This was everything Saunders and the coaching staff could have asked for and more from Dieng, who had only appeared once in the first four games and won’t likely be a regular member of the rotation this season.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves

B. Rookie <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRETT CULVER

C. This was an extremely quiet night for Napier, who finished with just two points on four shots, four assists, and two rebounds. He had a couple of bad turnovers, too. It’s clearly an outlier for the normally solid veteran point guard.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. SHABAZZ NAPIER

Other Players

Noah Vonleh was still the first big man off the bench but only played a three-minute stint in the first quarter before giving way to Jordan Bell. For the game, Vonleh played 13 minutes and had six points and five rebounds.

Outside of an impressive chase-down block, Bell struggled to the tune of four turnovers in only 11 minutes. He also had two points, four rebounds, two assists, and a block.

Next. Surprises and disappointments from Wolves' first week. dark

Up Next

The Wolves will spend the night in D.C. before flying back to the Twin Cities on Sunday morning. They’ll host the Milwaukee Bucks at 7 p.m. on Monday at Target Center, once again sans Towns.