The Minnesota Timberwolves have yet another worst loss of the season after falling at home to the Memphis Grizzlies by eight points.
Memphis Grizzlies 115
Minnesota Timberwolves 107
The Minnesota Timberwolves are 10-9, and by all accounts are outperforming most realistic expectations regarding the start of the season.
The Timberwolves have also lost twice to the now-6-13 Memphis Grizzlies and have an active home losing streak of five games.
The home struggles are confounding, to be sure, and the remedy for those issues was likely never going to be a 2:30 p.m. matinee on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Indeed, it was not.
The Wolves engaged in a see-saw battle with a Grizzlies team that was missing Kyle Anderson and Ja Morant and only got 10 minutes from Brandon Clarke after he aggravated a hip injury.
What Memphis did have, however, was Dillon Brooks. After dropping 31 on the Wolves back on Nov. 6, Brooks scored 26 on 9-of-18 shooting and was huge throughout the second half as he almost single-handedly dragged the Grizzlies to a win.
The Wolves used a big push in the middle of the third quarter to overcome an eight-point Grizzlies lead, but Memphis turned around and pushed their lead right back to double-digits. Despite lingering behind by just a couple of possessions for much of the fourth quarter, the Wolves couldn’t quite get all the way back.
Brooks and the Grizzlies pulled away in the final minutes, and the Wolves are left licking their wounds after yet another inexcusable home performance.
Towns was quiet early, with only four points in the first half. He also had five assists at the break, however, and was active on the glass. The third quarter belonged to Towns, and he finished with a typical, KAT-like line: 21 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. But he also was just 1-of-10 from beyond the arc, missing his first eight attempts. Towns only had two turnovers but was generally sloppy, and it was far from his best effort.
Wiggins’ final line was decent, but he had another outing with plenty of missed bunnies at the rim. He had 18 points (6-17 FG, 1-6 3P, 5-5 FT), seven assists, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal, but in similar fashion to Towns, it was a sloppy performance that left plenty to be desired.
Covington had his best all-around game in a while, it seemed. He had only 13 points and three rebounds, but was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and was the Wolves’ most consistent wing defender in this one. RoCo also had a big steal and buzzer-beater at the end of the first half that pulled the Wolves to within one.
For as bad as most of the Wolves’ wings and guards played, Culver and Covington were quite good. Culver had 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds. Wiggins handled the ball far more frequently than Culver, but there were a couple of stretches in the second half during which Culver basically took over the game for the Wolves. He’s an extremely confident player, and this was a fairly well-rounded performance from the rookie.
Graham simply couldn’t slow down Dillon Brooks for the second time in as many tries. He was the primary defender for many of Brooks’ 26 points, and only contributed six points and five rebounds in 22 minutes himself. Graham continues to be a weak link in the Wolves’ wing rotation, despite starting most nights in the lineup.
Teague’s line was good in this one: 13 points (2-4 FG, 1-1 3P, 8-8 FT), six assists, and four rebounds. But his impact didn’t quite feel that positive, as he struggled to defend in a two-point-guard backcourt alongside Shabazz Napier
in Napier’s return to the lineup. Teague finished with a -13, which was only better than Napier’s -14.
Okogie didn’t do much in this one, struggling a bit defensively and shooting just 1-of-6 from the floor in his 19 minutes. He did have five rebounds, but Okogie was one of the minutes casualties to Napier’s return.
was once again great, and he deserved to play more than the 25 minutes that he saw — especially as the Wolves were attempting a fourth-quarter comeback. Bates-Diop had 10 points (4-7 FG, 2-2 3P) with five rebounds, and was solid defensively. His +2 plus-minus was the best of the reserves and the third-best on the team in this one.
Shabazz Napier made his return after a four-week absence, and outside of an early 3-pointer, he struggled mightily on both ends of the floor. In just nine minutes, Napier was a team-worst -14. He was 1-for-1 from the floor and had one rebound, one steal, and one turnover.
Gorgui Dieng once again vacuumed up all backup center minutes and was solid, per usual. He had three points and five rebounds in 12 minutes and was 1-for-3 from beyond the arc.
The Wolves will head back out on the road, traveling to Dallas for a 7:30 p.m. tip on Wednesday against the 13-6 Mavericks, who handed the Los Angeles Lakers their third loss of the season on Sunday.