Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ win at Spurs

SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 27: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - NOVEMBER 27: Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves shoots the ball against the San Antonio Spurs. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photos by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves made it through an emotionally-charged second half and withstood a late Spurs run to hang on and win in San Antonio.

29. Final. 113. 86. 101

Unbelievably, the Minnesota Timberwolves now have the best road record to start a season in franchise history.

The Wolves are 7-2 on the road after wins on Monday in Atlanta and now Wednesday in San Antonio softened the blow of a disappointing homestand.

Exactly two weeks after the Wolves beat the Spurs at Target Center, they overcame an improved defense and a more impactful bench performance from the Spurs to win at AT&T Center.

The first quarter was closely contested with neither team finding a groove offensively. The second quarter was much of the same, but the Wolves were able to score 35 points in the frame and took a 10-point lead into halftime.

The third quarter saw the Wolves build on their lead, only to have the officials inexplicably make a series of terrible calls against the visitors.

First, a missed out-of-bounds call that featured Robert Covington getting shoved in the throat by DeMar DeRozan. Then, an incorrect foul call on Covington the next time down, followed by a no-call when Towns was fouled twice on a drive to the rim and then capped off by a (correctly) called charge on what would have been an otherwise exciting dunk over the Spurs defense.

Covington was called for a technical after his second frustrating play, and then Towns lost his mind after his charging call and was slapped with a technical as well. A few moments later, Ryan Saunders picked one up.

The Spurs pulled to within three points, but the Wolves pushed back and rebuilt their lead. Then, after Towns was called for his fifth personal foul on an overturned block/charge call, the Spurs took a brief lead and it looked for all the world as though things were falling apart.

But the Wolves called a timeout and came out ready to run the offense through Andrew Wiggins, and suddenly things were okay. Towns came back in with just under five minutes to play, and 3-pointers from Wiggins, Keita Bates-Diop, and Josh Okogie sealed the deal down the stretch.

The Wolves finished the night a fantastic 18-of-40 from beyond the arc. That’s 45 percent if you’re scoring at home.

While the Spurs are struggling mightily, this was still a nice road win, especially considering the debacle that was the third quarter.

Player Grades

A. Towns was his usual self, dropping 23 points (8-14 FG, 3-7 3P, 4-4 FT), 14 rebounds, six assists, and a block in just 31 minutes. He hit two early 3-pointers, prompting Gregg Popovich to lose his mind and call a timeout. Towns didn’t make another long-ball until they were holding the Spurs at arm’s length in the fourth quarter and Jakob Poeltl crashed into KAT and caused a 4-point play. Towns was dominant on the glass, grabbing 14 boards while Aldridge had only six and Poeltl had eight.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS

A. This was another slow start for Wiggins that saw him miss a number of point-blank looks at the rim. But he came on strong in the second half, scoring when the Wolves needed him. His final line of 26 points (7-16 FG, 3-5 3P, 9-14 FT), eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks with only one turnover will play. Every. Single. Night.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS

B-. Covington was once again extremely quiet on offense and solid on defense. He also hit a gigantic 3-pointer after the Wolves needed to stem the tide late in the fourth quarter. While RoCo finished with only seven points on seven shots with four rebounds, Covington was a +10 on the night and did his usual work on defense.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON

JARRETT CULVER. C+. Culver was ultra-aggressive, launching 13 shots in 26 minutes. He only made four of them and finished with 10 points, five assists, and two rebounds, plus a steal and a block. The first half was better than the second for Culver, as he had a couple of wild drives to the rim and ill-advised 3-point attempts late in the game. All things considered, an aggressive Culver is better than a passive one, and he continues to make strides.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. TREVEON GRAHAM. C+. Graham was the fifth starter but ultimately logged just 13 minutes. He left late after appearing to bang knees with DeRozan. Prior to that, he had a typical Graham game: solid defense and terrible offense. He was 1-of-5 from the field and had two rebounds in this one.

B. Teague came off the bench again and struggled from the floor early but was still effective overall, finishing with seven points and six assists. He was a bit of a steadying force in the turmoil that was the third quarter, and the sixth-man experiment seems to be working fairly well, presuming Teague starts to shoot the ball a bit better.. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JEFF TEAGUE

Guard/Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. A. Okogie had a great performance, putting up 11 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes, including a huge offensive rebound in the midst of the Spurs’ third quarter push. Okogie also hit the game-sealing 3-pointer from the right corner late in the fourth quarter. He was 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and added three assists while only committing one turnover.

A. Keita Bates-Diop had another fantastic game, with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. He spread his threes out in this one, so it felt like a quiet 16, but the Wolves will take 16 points and four rebounds off the bench from KBD any day. This is now three straight games in which Bates-Diop has looked the part of a key role player off the bench.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. KEITA BATES-DIOP

Other Players

Gorgui Dieng was strong off the bench yet again, with 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists in just 16 minutes. He’s been huge backing up Towns lately after not being part of the rotation for the first few weeks of the season.

Jordan Bell played a quick three-minute stint in the first half and had only one rebound to his name, and Kelan Martin saw seven minutes of playing time and grabbed two rebounds while missing his only shot attempt and committing a pair of personal fouls.

Next. The Great, Good, Bad, and the Ugly for the Wolves (so far). dark

What’s Next?

The Wolves head back to the Twin Cities for a three-day Thanksgiving break before hosting the Memphis Grizzlies for a Sunday matinee.