Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ win over Trail Blazers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 9: Robert Covington #33 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 9: Robert Covington #33 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts to a play during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves won their third consecutive home game on Thursday night after dominating the Portland Trail Blazers at Target Center.

86. Final. 102. 34. 116

The Minnesota Timberwolves continued their recent stretch of strong play with a 14-point win over the Portland Trail Blazers that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated.

The Blazers jumped out to a six-point lead after the first quarter, but Minnesota clamped down defensively in the second frame, holding Portland to just 13 points while putting up 31 of their own.

The Wolves’ perimeter defenders dominated the middle two quarters of the game, with Josh Okogie, Robert Covington, and Jarrett Culver taking turns shutting down the Blazers’ dynamic wing players.

Damian Lillard shot just 6-of-17 and C.J. McCollum was a game-worst -31 in the plus-minus column. Plus, starting wing Kent Bazemore was 0-of-8 from the floor and Carmelo Anthony finished with just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting.

After dominating the paint in the first quarter, Hassan Whiteside was a non-factor for the final three quarters. He pulled down 14 rebounds, but nobody else on the Blazers had more than four boards.

On the offensive end of the floor, the Wolves got hot from deep during the middle stages of the game and finished a fantastic 13-of-32 (40.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Andrew Wiggins was fantastic, putting up 23 points on 15 shots and dishing out a season-high eight assists. Jarrett Culver had 12 points and six assists as well, continuing his strong recent play.

The Wolves led by more than 20 points for most of the third and fourth quarter before a late run from the Blazers made things look a bit closer than they were. Nobody on the Wolves needed to play more than 30 minutes, and they came away with their fifth win in their last eight games.

Player Grades

Minnesota Timberwolves. ANDREW WIGGINS. A. Andrew Wiggins was the best all-around player on the floor for the Wolves in what was easily his best performance since returning from his four-game absence due to illness. He was active on both ends of the floor and adept with his passing as well as efficient with his shooting, finishing 9-of-15 from the field en route to 23 points, eight assists, three rebounds and only one turnover in 26 minutes. Wiggins effectively controlled the game for much of the second half and was a huge part of the win.. Wing

Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRETT CULVER. A-. Jarrett Culver continued his strong play, putting up 12 points (6-13 FG, 0-1 3P), six rebounds, four rebounds, an assist and two blocks in 30 minutes. He was confident on both ends of the floor once again with a couple of nice finishes in the paint and solid activity on the glass.

Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. ROBERT COVINGTON. A-. Covington continued his stretch of super RoCo-y games, scoring 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting and 2-of-6 from beyond the arc, plus four rebounds, two steals, two blocks and zero turnovers. He was a big part of slowing down Anthony early in the game and helped build the Wolves’ massive second half lead throughout the third quarter.

Minnesota Timberwolves. GORGUI DIENG. B+. <a rel=. Center

B. Napier had a relatively quiet game, finishing with only nine points and four assists as <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. SHABAZZ NAPIER

Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. KEITA BATES-DIOP. B. <a rel=

JEFF TEAGUE. B+. Jeff Teague was quite good off the bench again. The former starter finished with 12 points and six assists and finished 4-of-8. The Wolves lineup is much stronger when they have 2 NBA-caliber point guards, and Teague has been adequately aggressive as the team’s top bench scorer.. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

Other Players

The Wolves’ defense was great in this one. Naz Reid was scoreless after missing five shots in 17 minutes but grabbed six rebounds.

Noah Vonleh was great, finishing with eight points and six rebounds in 13 minutes. Josh Okogie was fantastic on defense and effective on offense, too, with eight points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals, and two blocks in just 25 minutes. He made his only two shot attempts from the field and made both of his free throw attempts, too.

Jordan Bell played five minutes in garbage time and Treveon Graham was deceng in 15 minutes in his first game in over a week.

Next. What could the 76ers offer for Robert Covington?. dark

Up Next

The Wolves have the next couple of nights off before heading to Houston to take on the Rockets at 4 p.m. on Sunday.