Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ win over Hawks

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 25: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 25: Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to earn a road win with relative ease over the Atlanta Hawks.

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After playing extremely shorthanded in Saturday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Minnesota Timberwolves got a couple of their rotation players back, and while it took more than three quarters to put it all together, they eventually emerged with a much-needed win.

Robert Covington (personal reasons) and Josh Okogie (knee soreness) each missed Saturday’s game but were available against the Hawks.

Covington started and was a huge part of the Wolves’ defensive plan but didn’t contribute much on offense. Okogie played a bit less than what we’re used to seeing, but was also important when it came to slowing down the likes of Trae Young, De’Andre Hunter, and Cam Reddish.

The Wolves made 10 of their first 11 shots from the field and built a 38-30 lead after the first quarter, but the second quarter got away from them quickly. The Hawks took advantage of a series of questionable officiating decisions and some sloppy transition defense from the Wolves to build a 10-point lead of their own at halftime.

But the second half belonged to the Wolves. Karl-Anthony Towns dropped 15 points and eight rebounds in the third quarter alone, and Minnesota won the third frame by a 39-26 margin. They still needed a fourth-quarter push to put the Hawks away, but a strong stint from Gorgui Dieng allowed the Wolves to get Towns some additional rest and still bring him back for the latter stages of the quarter.

While it would have been nice to not have to come from behind in this one, it was a solid all-around win for the Wolves as they inch back over the .500 mark.

Player Grades

A. Towns was awesome once again, putting up 28 points (8-19 FG, 3-8 3P, 9-10 FT), 13 rebounds, eight assists, and two blocks. His passing display was most impressive, featuring bullets from the post to open shooters and touch passes to backdoor cutters, plus passes off the dribble. Towns is showing massive improvements in his court awareness and continues to score in a variety of ways while maintaining his activity on the glass.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

A. Wiggins started this one slowly but ultimately had a clear impact on the game. He finished with 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting, plus six rebounds, two steals, and an assist. He was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and was solid defensively as well. Wiggins was a big part of the second-half push that got the Wolves back in front. It was good to see such a strong performance after his past two games were fairly mediocre.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS

B-. Covington didn’t do much on offense but was his typical pesky self on the defensive end of the floor. Despite putting up only five points on eight shots and making just one of his five 3-point attempts, Covington had five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in just 24 minutes.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON

JARRETT CULVER. B. Culver started along with Wiggins in the backcourt with Jeff Teague starting the game on the bench. While the rookie’s final line of 14 points on 11 shots doesn’t look good, Culver had a couple of impressive forays to the rim in which he got his shoulders past his defender and finished through contact at the rim. He continues to show flashes of being a true starter-caliber player.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE. B. Teague came off the bench in this one as the Wolves looked for more length on the perimeter and some additional savvy and scoring punch to the second unit. It worked, at least for one night, and although Teague continues to back-slide into the same reluctance to shoot as Teague displayed for most of last season, he still finished with eight points and eight assists in 31 minutes.. Point Guard

B+. Treveon Graham returned after a one-game absence and was handed the assignment of chasing Trae Young around the perimeter. There were absolutely moments in which Young got the best of Graham, but the Wolves’ guard did an overall solid job of staying in front of Young and forcing him into a series of tough shots. Graham himself had a defense game on offsense, logging seven points an four rebounds.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM

A-. Okogie was a big part of the Wolves’ defense plan to slow down Atlanta’s wings, and especially Trae Young. On offense, Okogie was 2-for-2 from the floor and had two rebounds. This was the version of Okogie that we’d all like to see. Each every night.. Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. KEITA BATES-DIOP. A. With a healthier rotation, Keita Bates-Diop wasn’t required to play as much as he did on Saturday, when he put up a career-high 22 points. This time out, he still managed to contribute 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 2-for-4 from beyond the arc, plus five rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes. Bates-Diop could be a huge bench contributor moving forward if he’s able to provide solid minutes on both ends of the floor at more than one position.

Other Players

Gorgui Dieng was awesome, contributing 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting and knocking down both of his 3-point attempts. He was huge in the second half, helping the Wolves to keep building their lead with Towns on the bench.

Kelan Martin only played seven minutes but was much better than he was against the Suns. Provided he can shoot 3-pointers at a slightly better clip than he has overall in his short stint as an NBA player, he could be a valuable 7 to 10 minute player for this squad.

Jordan Bell had a first-half stint at power forward that lasted just four minutes, but he was active and a positive contributor.

Wolves fans have plenty to be thankful for in 2019-20. dark. Next

What’s Next?

The Wolves head to San Antonio on Wednesday for the second matchup against the Spurs so far this season.