Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to the Bucks

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 4: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 4: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves were handled rather easily by the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night in the absence of Karl-Anthony Towns.

All things considered, going 1-1 with Karl-Anthony Towns unavailable due to suspension was probably about as good as the Minnesota Timberwolves could have hoped for.

After beating the Wizards by 22 points on Saturday in Washington, the Wolves fell by 28 to the Bucks on Monday at Target Center in a game that started nearly an hour late due to an … wait for it … un-level hoop. That’s right, tip-off was at 7:59 p.m. because the rim was crooked, and apparently nobody noticed until right before the game was supposed to start.

Once things finally got going, the Wolves were competitive early and almost got into halftime trailing by just five, but a rare successful coach’s challenge overturned what was a charge and a third personal foul on Giannis Antetokounmpo into a blocking foul on Jordan Bell and two points for the Bucks with just 0.2 left on the clock.

The Bucks struggled mightily during each stretch when Giannis sat on the bench as the Wolves hung a couple of possessions back and cut a 20-plus point lead down to 14 late in the third quarter. But when Antetokounmpo was on the court, the Wolves simply didn’t have an answer.

Bell was the closest thing to an answer to at least impeding Giannis somewhat, but it didn’t matter. From Treveon Graham to Jake Layman to Bell, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player scored almost at will.

The Wolves didn’t have much success on offense in this one, either, struggling from beyond the arc to the tune of 13-for-43, or just 30.2 percent. The only player with more than 15 points in the game for the Wolves was Andrew Wiggins, who needed 21 shots to score 25 points.

For as positive as the fight was early in the game, the second half was a debacle of missed opportunities and bricked 3-point attempts.

The good news? Minnesota has a winnable road game at Memphis on Wednesday and a home date with the battered Warriors on Friday — and Towns will be available for both of those contests.

Player Grades

B-. Wiggins was efficient early, although he wasn’t consistently aggressive and didn’t do much except turn and launch the ball when he touched it. Ultimately, that meant 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting, and he pitched in exactly zero assists and only three rebounds. In a game without Towns available, it would have been great to see Wiggins offer a little bit more.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS

B. Covington was solid early on both ends of the floor, finishing with 15 points (5-9 FG, 3-6 3P, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 23 minutes. As it turns out, there was less room to operate without Towns on the floor, and even RoCo’s made threes were once again tightly contested.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON

Teague was decent, although he only made one shot from the field in the first half and his -25 plus-minus was second-worst on the team. He finished with 10 points on seven shots with only three assists.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE. B-

Graham struggled to keep Giannis in check, although it’s hard to blame him too much for that. He finally hit a 3-pointer, making one of his three attempts from beyond the arc. As we’ve seen so far this season, Graham does contribute in other areas, including two steals, two rebounds, and an assist. He did have a team-worst -29 in the plus-minus column.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM. B-

C. Okogie had another fairly quiet game, scoring just three points on 1-of-5 shooting although he did pull down six rebounds. Over the past few games, Okogie hasn’t had the opportunity to be aggressive in the open floor and hasn’t done much on offense at all.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

Minnesota Timberwolves. JAKE LAYMAN. C-. Layman struggled in this one, making only two of his 10 shot attempts and missing all three of his 3-point attempts. In addition to his five points, he pitched in four rebounds and two steals. He again finished with the second-most minutes for the Wolves, logging 27 minutes.. Forward

B. Dieng wasn’t quite as impactful in this game as he was on Saturday in Washington D.C., largely due to the matchup. He finished with 10 points, six rebounds, and four assists in 17 minutes but did some of that damage in garbage time in the fourth quarter. It will be interesting to see if he sees the floor at all behind Towns in the games ahead, or if those minutes will be split between <a rel=. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. GORGUI DIENG

Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRETT CULVER. B-. Culver had another high-volume game, scoring eight points but needing 11 shots to get there. He did make two of his five 3-point attempts and contribute four rebounds, a steal, and a nice assist in the pick-and-roll game. Culver continues to show promising flashes but struggle with his shooting efficiency … which is pretty much exactly what we all expected.. Guard

B+. Napier struggled from the field but contributed across the box score. He finished with 10 points (4-12 FG, 2-8 3P), four assists, four steals, and three rebounds in 25 minutes. Napier played heavy first half minutes before sitting late in the game with the game decided. He did leave to the locker room after going to the floor hard, so here’s hoping that he is healthy on Wednesday at Memphis as the Wolves don’t have a true backup point guard on the roster.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. SHABAZZ NAPIER

Other Players

Bell and Vonleh played the least and second-least minutes on the team, splitting the center spot behind Dieng.

Bell had a nice line, with 12 points (4-6 FG, 0-1 3P, 4-4 FT), six rebounds, and three assists in just 15 minutes. He did have two turnovers, having a couple of passes clank of his hands in the paint. His ball skills continue to be questionable, but there’s a clear edge that he brings to the Wolves when he’s on the floor.

Vonleh was quite solid once again, putting up five points and six rebounds in 16 minutes. He was awesome early in the game, pulling down tough boards and contributing on defense, but his struggles from the field (1-7 FG, 1-4 3P) caught up to him.

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

Up Next

The Wolves hit the road once again, hopping on a short flight to Memphis for a 7 p.m. CT game against Tyus Jones and the Grizzlies on Wednesday.