Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to Jazz

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots the ball against the Utah Jazz. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - NOVEMBER 20: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots the ball against the Utah Jazz. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

After defeating the Utah Jazz on the road on Monday, the Minnesota Timberwolves couldn’t duplicate their impressive performance on their home court on Wednesday.

86. Final. 103. 118. 95

After a pair of hard-fought games between two surprisingly even divisional rivals … we have an even split.

The Minnesota Timberwolves went into Salt Lake City and were the first team to defeat the Jazz on their home floor this season. Now, the Jazz have returned the favor with an impressive and complete win at Target Center.

On Monday, Karl-Anthony Towns launched 15 3-pointers, making seven of them. On Wednesday, Towns had two shot attempts during the entire first half and didn’t reach double figures in scoring until late in the fourth quarter.

The defensive plan implemented by Utah coach Quin Snyder worked much better this time around as his perimeter players seemed to be much more engaged and did a better job contesting shots than last time around. The Jazz big men were also much improved when it came to stepping out on Towns to contest his attempts from the perimeter.

The other adjustment that the Jazz made was in the pick-and-roll. When Rudy Gobert switched off of Towns, the Jazz sent two players to swarm Towns on the catch in the post, leaving the weak side perimeter player open. The Wolves did a mostly good job of swinging the ball around the perimeter, but didn’t make enough threes to make it matter, finishing the night 14-of-45 (31.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

Overall this game was a see-saw battle, and the Wolves pushed back and took a brief lead early in the fourth quarter, building it up to six points. But then, a 10-0 run from Utah put them back on top for good.

The story of the game was the Jazz doing a great job on Towns, which forced the Wolves’ ballhandlers to make good decisions and score in traffic. Jeff Teague struggled mightily at the rim and Andrew Wiggins was inefficient in his return to the floor, including a 1-for-10 from beyond the arc.

Also of note: the Wolves shot an atrocious 11-for-21 from the free throw line. That’s just 52.4 percent, and there were only four players who attempted shots from the charity stripe for Minnesota: Teague (7-for-11), Robert Covington (2-for-5), Wiggins (1-for-3), and Gorgui Dieng (1-for-2).

Player Grades

B-. Towns had a rough all-around game. He was sent to the bench early in the game with a pair of personal foul calls in the first quarter, which took both he and the Wolves, collectively, out of their rhythm. That, plus a strong defensive game plan from the Jazz and some struggles from the Wolves’ guards meant that Towns only attempted 10 total shots immediately following the game in which he attempted 15 shots from beyond the arc alone. Towns didn’t necessarily play that badly, but the Jazz did a good job of holding him down. KAT finished with 14 points (5-10 FG, 4-7 3P), 12 rebounds, one assist, and one block.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS. B. Wiggins started slowly but then exploded with a series of dynamic offensive plays late in the first quarter, scoring on spin moves and floaters over Gobert. Then there was a bit of a back-slide into some mid-range jumpers, and outside of a flurry of points at the start of the second half, Wiggins began to settle a bit too much on the perimeter. He finished with 22 points (10-24 FG, 1-10 FG, 1-3 FT), seven rebounds, and three assists. The aggression was appreciated, but he needed to find a way to defer to Towns a bit more down the stretch.

B+. Covington was once again a great help defender in this one, despite struggling a bit when matched up one-on-one with <a rel=. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON

C+. This was a Bad Jeff Teague game. He finished with 12 points and attempted 11 free throws but was just 7-of-11 from the free throw line and missed what felt like 15 shots at the rim. While he was actually 2-of-9 from the floor, there were several and-one opportunities and point-blank shots that rimmed out. Teague had six assists and five rebounds compared to only one turnover, but it was a frustrating night for the Wolves point guard.. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE

This was one of <a rel=. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM. B

C. Culver was perhaps too aggressive on offense in this one, although the Wolves’ second unit had to rely on him more heavily with some of the early foul trouble for both Wiggins and Towns that threw off the rotation a bit. He finished with 10 points but shot just 4-of-14 from the floor with four rebounds and zero assists. Culver also committed three fouls in just 24 minutes.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRETT CULVER

JOSH OKOGIE. B. Okogie once again played through a sore knee and was solid defensively. There was a possession in which he tracked down <a rel=. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

A. <a rel=. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. KELAN MARTIN

Other Players

Gorgui Dieng once again captured all the backup center minutes and was a huge part of the Wolves staying in the game early. While his final line of one point and eight rebounds in 15 minutes isn’t eye-popping, he was a team-best +10.

Keita Bates-Diop played four minutes in the first half and hit an open corner three. He’s looked better of late and could prove to be a useful player for the Wolves to shuttle back and forth from the G League throughout the season.

dark. Next. Analyzing the Jimmy Butler trade after a year

Up Next

The Wolves stay home and have back-to-back off days for the first time in a couple of weeks. They’ll host the surprising Phoenix Suns on Saturday at 4 p.m. CT.