Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss to Celtics

The Minnesota Timberwolves put up a fight but ultimately fell short to the Boston Celtics on Friday night at Target Center.

Boston Celtics
Minnesota Timberwolves

The Minnesota Timberwolves found out on Friday that they’ll be without superstar big man Karl-Anthony Towns for at least two weeks.

On Friday night, the Wolves still went out and competed hard for 48 minutes and were within a possession of the mighty Boston Celtics in crunch time. Ultimately, the Celtics’ star power of Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward was too much for the D’Angelo Russell-led Timberwolves.

Minnesota was in the game throughout, trailing by four after the first quarter and seven at halftime after a buzzer-beater by Malik Beasley just prior to the break. The Wolves were within six at the start of the fourth quarter before the Celtics pushed things back to double digits.

But the Wolves weren’t done, cutting Boston’s lead all the way down to two before a quick 5-0 run put the Celtics somewhat comfortably ahead for good.

The Celtics only got 10 points from their bench, but it didn’t matter, Hayward had 15 points in the third quarter alone en route to 29 on just 15 shots on the night. Tatum had 28 points and 11 rebounds.

All game long, the Wolves struggled mightily on the defensive glass, and it hurt them badly down the stretch. Minnesota had just 35 defensive rebounds to the Celtics’ 16 offensive boards, and Boston out-rebounded the home team by a 58 to 43 margin on the night.

The Celtics used a series of second-chance opportunities and strong defensive stands to put the Wolves away down the stretch, although Minnesota was competitive and played hard until the end, which is not what fans were used to seeing in the first half of the season.

Player Grades


Guard, Minnesota Timberwolves


D’Angelo Russell started the game on fire, hitting a couple of tough mid-range jumpers and a deep 3-pointer en route to 10 first-quarter points. But he cooled off, putting up 18 points but shooting only 5-of-16 from the floor and 1-of-9 from beyond the arc. Russell did have 13 assists to only three rebounds and grabbed six rebounds, but had a plus-minus of -14, which was second-worst on the team. He competed defensively and was generally okay on offense, but it’ll be a rough go for the Wolves as long as Towns is out.


Wing, Minnesota Timberwolves


Malik Beasley started quietly but came on strong, putting up 20 points by early in the third quarter. He finished with 28 points (10-18 FG, 4-8 3P, 3-3 FT), four rebounds, one assist and one block. Beasley was good in transition and continued to show an impressive shooting stroke from deep. It was yet another great performance from the Wolves’ new third option on offense.


Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves


Juancho Hernangomez was great in this one, finishing with 17 points on 10 shots and making four of his five 3-point attempts. He also pulled down five rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to combat Daniel Thies’ career-best 16 boards. Hernangomez’s biggest issue is consistent rebounding, and that continues to be a problem for the otherwise talented forward.


Wing, Minnesota Timberwolves


Josh Okogie was okay on defense and ultra-efficient on offense, scoring 10 points on three shots. He was 3-of-3 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Okogie also had five rebounds and two steals.


Center, Minnesota Timberwolves


Naz Reid received his first career start and was awesome on offense, finishing with 19 points (7-15 FG, 2-5 3P, 3-4 FT) and nine rebounds. He also pitched in three steals and an assist and had a strong +3 plus-minus in 33 minutes. Rebounding continues to be a rough spot for Reid, as he was a big part of the Celtics’ heyday on the glass, especially in the second half. That said, Reid’s offensive skill is real.

Other Players

Jordan McLaughlin had another strong game, putting up 11 points and making all three of his 3-point attempts. He also had three assists, two blocks, and a steal and zero turnovers in 14 minutes while logging a plus-minus of +4.

James Johnson had nine points and six rebounds but shot only 2-of-9 from the field. Allen Crabbe was scoreless in 11 minutes. Kelan Martin also missed all four of his shot attempts but pitched in three rebounds and three assists.

Jarrett Culver shot only 1-of-5 and had two points and three rebounds in 22 minutes.

Next: The Wolves' rotation without Karl-Anthony Towns

Next Up

The Wolves are off on Saturday and will head out on a four-game road trip beginning in Denver on Monday night as Beasley and Hernangomez head back to to Pepsi Center for their first time as visitors.