Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ home loss to Thunder

The Minnesota Timberwolves dropped their second consecutive game to a Western Conference opponent, this time to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Final
Oklahoma City Thunder
117
Minnesota Timberwolves
104

The Minnesota Timberwolves‘ first loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder came in heartbreaking fashion after squandering a lead in the final seconds.

This time around, the result wasn’t nearly as questionable in the final moments.

The Wolves actually led by a 33-30 margin after the first quarter hung around for the entirety of the first half, only trailing by three points at the break. But the Thunder used a third quarter surge to get on top for good, and their double-digit advantage held up for the remainder of the game.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had a double-double before a full minute had gone by in the third quarter and pulled down a career-high 20 rebounds to go with his 20 points and 10 assists as the Wolves’ backcourt simply had no answers.

Danilo Gallinari was the best frontcourt player in the game, for his part, scoring 30 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range and 11-of-12 from the free throw line

The Wolves simply couldn’t slow down the Thunder in any facet of the game. Chris Paul didn’t even score until early in the third quarter, simply because he didn’t need to.

Minnesota mustered just enough offense to hang around, and the game wasn’t put away until the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Player Grades

ANDREW WIGGINS

Wing, Minnesota Timberwolves

D

This was the second consecutive game in which Andrew Wiggins struggled mightily. He shot just 4-of-12 from the field and 0-for-3 from beyond the arc. He had 10 points, three assists and just one (1!) rebound in 30 minutes. Wiggins was a game-worst -22 and simply could not slow down whomever he was guarding on the defensive end of the floor.

JARRETT CULVER

Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

B

Jarrett Culver was pretty good once again, putting up 14 points (7-15 FG, 0-2 3P), five rebounds, and two assists in 32 minutes. He was solid defensively and aggressive once again on offense, driving to the rim far more often than settling for outside shots.

ROBERT COVINGTON

Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves

B+

Robert Covington had another strong game. He finished with 18 points (6-13 FG, 4-9 3P, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, three steals, two assists, one block and was active defensively, per usual. The Wolves needed his contributions from beyond the arc in order to stay in this one for most of the game.

GORGUI DIENG

Center, Minnesota Timberwolves

C

Gorgui Dieng was largely a non-factor in this game, ceding playing time to Naz Reid as the undrafted rookie dropped 20 points in just 18 minutes. Dieng started and played 18 minutes, putting up just five points and four rebounds. Steven Adams killed the Wolves down low all game long, and Dieng wasn’t the answer when he was on the floor.

SHABAZZ NAPIER

Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves

B

This was a nice bounce-back game for Shabazz Napier after a pair of consecutive rough outings. He finished with 16 points (4-10 FG, 3-5 3P, 6-7 FT), five rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers. Napier was much better than Teague in this game, and once again a big part of that was simply his willingness to shoot the ball from deep.

NAZ REID

Center, Minnesota Timberwolves

B

Naz Reid scored a career-high 20 points (7-13 FG, 4-8 3P, 2-2 FT) but pulled down just one rebound in 18 minutes. The rebounding thing continues to be an issue for Reid, as it’s simply unacceptable for an NBA center to grab a single board in that many minutes. Adams had 11 rebounds while he was on the court and Gilgeous-Alexander had a career-high 20, but Reid could only muster one. That said, he was great on offense and continues to show that he’s a perfect fit in the Wolves’ new offensive system.

Other Players

Outside of Reid, nobody else on the bench scored more than six points. Josh Okogie was quite good defensively, per usual, but only hoisted up four shots in 25 minutes, making two of them. He finished with six points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals.

Jeff Teague had six points and five assists off the bench. He was actually a +4 in 21 minutes but struggled defensively against the Thunder’s impressive backcourt.

Noah Vonleh had four points in 12 minutes, Keita Bates-Diop had three in 15 minutes, and Treveon Graham had two points and four rebounds in 13 minutes.

Next: Could the Wolves land D'Angelo Russell in a 3-team deal?

Next Up

The Wolves will stay at home to host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT.