Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to Hornets

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 12: Devonte' Graham #4 of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket against D'Angelo Russell #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - FEBRUARY 12: Devonte' Graham #4 of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket against D'Angelo Russell #0 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves head into the All-Star Break following a disappointing home loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves were without Karl-Anthony Towns on Wednesday night as the superstar big man sat out with a sore wrist. And, quite frankly, that was enough to cost the Wolves the game.

Back in mid-October, Towns dropped 37 points and 15 rebounds in a 22-point win on the Hornets’ home floor. Without Towns, Bismack Biyombo took advantage of the Wolves’ starting front of Juancho Hernangomez and 6-foot-8 James Johnson, who got the start at center.

In the first quarter alone, Biyombo had five dunks and a layup, yet the Wolves still lead by eight points at the end of the opening frame.

Minnesota continued to score at will, putting up 66 points by halftime and building their lead to as many as 18 points. But Charlotte didn’t go away, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and getting 28 points and eight assists from Devonte’ Graham.

The Wolves still led by 13 points when D’Angelo Russell checked out of the game with 2:51 left on the clock in the third quarter. When Russell reentered the contest at the 8:47 mark in the fourth, Minnesota was trailing by four. With the star point guard on the bench, the Hornets went on a 22-5 run.

The Wolves were in the game until the final three minutes. Then, they failed to get stops and were the victims of a couple of questionable — and at least one outright incorrect — calls by the officials. Multiple Wolves missed open 3-point attempts, including Russell, Johnson, and Hernangomez, and that was about all she wrote.

The Timberwolves were competitive and put up a good fight, but this is a game that they still should have won, even without Towns.

Player Grades

Minnesota Timberwolves. D'ANGELO RUSSELL. B+. D’Angelo Russell had a much better all-around game this time around than he did on Saturday night in his Wolves debut. The final line of 26 points (9-23 FG, 4-12 3P, 4-4 FT), 11 assists, six rebounds, two steals and a block in 35 minutes was decent. It was a fairly efficient night until late when he forced up a few shots, and he was okay on defense as well. Russell was a team-best +11 in the plus-minus in a game that the Wolves lost by seven. The backup point guard, <a rel=. Guard

Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. MALIK BEASLEY. B+. <a rel=

JUANCHO HERNANGOMEZ. C+. Juancho Hernangomez struggled mightily from the perimeter in this one and had a lot of difficulty with Biyombo, especially early in the game. Outside of a couple of nice drives to the basket, it was a tough night for Juancho. He ended up with 16 points, but he was just 5-of-18 from the floor and 1-of-7 from beyond the arc, only making his last attempt when the game was all but decided. Hernangomez added 12 rebounds, a steal and a block with zero turnovers.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

B. <a rel=. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

B-. James Johnson got the start in Towns’ absence, but he had an overall quiet night. He was solid on defense, grabbing three steals and notching three blocks. On offense, however, he had just five points on 2-of-8 shooting and committed three turnovers. Johnson also had five rebounds and five assists in a game that saw him split his minutes between the 4 and the 5.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JAMES JOHNSON

A-. <a rel=. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. NAZ REID

Other Players

Jordan McLaughlin had six points, two rebounds and two assists in 14 minutes but was a horrendous -17 in the plus-minus column. He only committed one turnover but struggled to operate the offense efficiently.

Jarrett Culver had a quiet night with four points on three shots, two rebounds and two turnovers in 16 minutes. Allen Crabbe was scoreless in 11 minutes.

Jarred Vanderbilt played four minutes spanning the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth, but was a -11 in his stint. He was put into the game to try to shore up the Wolves’ rebounding, but grabbed only one board and air-balled a 3-point attempt from the corner.

Next. What's the ceiling of the Towns-Russell duo?. dark

Next Up

The All-Star Break starts on Friday, and the Wolves don’t return to action until next Saturday night at home against the Boston Celtics. Here’s hoping for a healthy Karl-Anthony Towns and a healthy Jake Layman