Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to Rockets

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 16: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots the ball. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 16: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets shoots the ball. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves lost their second game in as many days as James Harden dropped 49 points en route to a Rockets win.

169. 105. 86. Final. 125

After beating the Spurs on Wednesday night, it sure felt as though the Minnesota Timberwolves had a chance to build a winning streak against a bad Wizards team on Friday and a depleted Rockets squad on Saturday.

As it turned out, however, James Harden was enough for Houston against a Wolves team that was missing Andrew Wiggins due to personal reasons and Josh Okogie with a knee injury. Shabazz Napier remained out with his hamstring strain.

Harden struggled mightily from the field early in the game but still launched an incredible 17 field goal attempts in the first quarter alone. The Wolves led by six with a minute and a half left in the first half, but a quick 8-0 Rockets run gave them a two-point lead at halftime.

The Wolves’ offense struggled mightily in the third quarter to the tune of 8-for-30 from the field, and the Rockets took advantage of Karl-Anthony Towns sitting on the bench late in the frame to build an eight-point lead heading into the fourth.

Head coach Ryan Saunders chose to open the final quarter with Towns on the bench, and the Wolves promptly allowed Houston to push their lead to 17 points in a matter of just over three minutes, and the game was essentially over at that point.

The Wolves did a solid job holding Harden in check early, but they struggled to rebound the ball in some key spots in the second half and once again had a terrible night from beyond the arc.

This was a bad loss, despite being shorthanded and on a back-to-back. The Rockets were even thinner and needed a career-high 41 shots attempts from Harden to win this one, but it worked.

Here’s hoping that Andrew Wiggins is back for the game in Utah on Monday night.

Player Grades

Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS. B. Towns was ultra-efficient early in this one, making eight of his first 10 shot attempts. But he was 1-for-5 down the stretch and just plain didn’t touch the ball enough late in the game. The final line of 25 points (9-15 FG, 3-6 3P, 6-6 FT), 15 rebounds, two steals and two blocks looks nice, but he should have had a bigger impact on this one. It wasn’t all his fault, as the Wolves’ offense broke down entirely. Also, Towns should have finished with more than zero assists, as the likes of <a rel=. Center

Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON. B+. Covington was good, but was 1-of-6 from beyond the arc until a late 3-pointer in what was effectively garbage time. He finished with 17 points (7-13 FG, 2-7 3P, 1-1 FT), five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Covington’s defense was solid but he didn’t end up being matched up with Harden all that often.. Forward

C. For as good as <a rel=. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE

C-. This was a bad Treveon Graham game. While he was 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and 3-of-10 from the field, it felt like he missed at least a dozen 3-point attempts. He had six rebounds in 28 minutes and was just okay in defense against Harden.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM

B. Culver came off the bench in this one with <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRETT CULVER

JAKE LAYMAN. B+. Layman had his highest-scoring game as a Timberwolf, reaching double figures early in the first half and finishing with 21 points on 14 shots and knocking down three of his four 3-point attempts. He also had five rebounds and two assists, but the Wolves needed him to do more on the glass and on defense without Okogie and Wiggins available.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

Other Players

Noah Vonleh had a strong first stint grabbing six rebounds in a matter of moments. In a game in which the Wolves certainly should have considered playing big to counter the Rockets, Vonleh didn’t play alongside Towns and Gorgui Dieng didn’t see the floor.

Vonleh’s second half stint was not successful, and despite pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out four assists, he missed all three of his shots from the field and was a -10 on the night.

Both Keita Bates-Diop and Kelan Martin played a surprising amount, and neither was particularly good. They were on the floor for the Rockets’ big second-half push, and while the idea of getting the duo some minutes for a depleted team was nice, it wasn’t the proper timing.

Next. The Wolves don't need a point guard to succeed. dark

Up Next

The Wolves have Sunday off and will travel to Salt Lake City to take on the Jazz on Monday for the first of a home-and-home series that will head back to Target Center on Wednesday.