Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves’ road win over Heat

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Juan Hernangomez hugs Malik Beasley after they defeated the Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Juan Hernangomez hugs Malik Beasley after they defeated the Miami Heat. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves came back from 12 points down with under four minutes to play in the fourth quarter to beat the Heat in Miami.

110. Final. 129. 86. 126

The Minnesota Timberwolves came into Wednesday night’s game in Miami on a five-game losing streak, desperately wanting to avoid another double-digit skid.

They did just that, turning a 12-point fourth quarter deficit into an exciting victory that came down to the final possessions of the game.

The Wolves were in the game throughout, trailing by only three at halftime and not getting down by more than six points until early in the fourth quarter. Eventually, Miami looked as though they would pull away, pushing their lead to 12 on a pair of Bam Adebayo free throws with 3:59 remaining on the clock.

From that point forward, it was largely the Malik Beasley and (checks notes) … Jordan McLaughlin show in the final minutes. The Wolves played incredible team defense down the stretch, switching everything on the perimeter and crashing down into the paint on help defense.

The game down to a big Jordan McLaughlin layup with just 8.5 seconds left, and then an impressive defensive possession that saw Beasley, Jake Layman and D’Angelo Russell converge on Butler at the rim and combine for a massive block, effectively sealing the win.

They also finally figured out the Heat’s desire to flare a shooter into the opposite corner and have him wait for a skip pass as part of practically every set that Erik Spoelstra’s squad ran.

Russell and Beasley were the defensive catalysts, believe it or not, as part of a small lineup with Juan Hernangomez at center alongside Russell, Beasley, Josh Okogie, and McLaughlin, whose defensive toughness and timely play on offense earned him a look as a second ball-handler in crunch time.

The credit for this game goes to creative coaching and tough, never-say-die defense. It was an impressive win, and it gives them a bit of momentum heading into a winnable game in Orlando on Friday night.

Player Grades

D’Angelo Russell was fantastic in this one, embracing his role as a star and the heart and soul of this team with <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. D'ANGELO RUSSELL. A

A-. Malik Beasley started and finished hot. He was quiet in between, but it was ultimately a good all-around performance from the Wolves’ new dynamic scorer. In total, Beasley dropped in 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-9 from beyond the arc. He was 4-of-5 from the free throw line and added six rebounds, five assists, and two steals with only one turnover. Beasley was a +11 in a game that the Wolves won by three.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. MALIK BEASLEY

A-. Juancho Hernangomez bounced back after consecutive quiet performances, putting up 17 points on an efficient 7-of-11 shooting and 3-of-5 on 3-point attempts. He also added five rebounds, two steals and an assist in 31 minutes. Hernangomez had a couple of big 3-pointers in the second half as the Wolves were trying to make their comeback, and was a big part of the Wolves’ solid defense down the stretch.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JUANCHO HERNANGOMEZ

B-. Josh Okogie was quiet again on offense and just okay on defense. Not that guarding <a rel=. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

Minnesota Timberwolves. NAZ REID. B. <a rel=. Center

B. <a rel=. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JAMES JOHNSON

A+. Jordan McLaughlin was great, scoring 13 points (4-5 FG, 2-3 3P, 3-4 FT) and adding five assists and three steals with zero turnovers in 22 minutes. He also had a team-best +20 in a game that the Wolves won by just three points, and played alongside Russell in crunchtime. McLaughlin hit a game-tying free throw with 45.7 seconds left in the game and got to the basket for the go-ahead layup with 8.5 seconds remaining. He turned the corner in the pick-and-roll game and beat Adebayo to the rim, making the biggest shot of the game for the Wolves.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JORDAN MCLAUGHLIN

Minnesota Timberwolves. KELAN MARTIN. B-. <a rel=. Wing

Other Players

Jake Layman played 13 minutes for the second consecutive game in his return from a 41-game absence. He had five points, all coming on free throws, and four of them in the final minutes of the game. Layman was 0-of-3 from the field and generally looked to be moving well on the floor.

Jarrett Culver had a decent game as well, scoring nine points on nine shots and pitching in three rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He had an impressive sequence in the fourth quarter when he grabbed a rebound just prior to a shot-clock violation and made a layup, and then forced a turnover on the other end that led to a Beasley 3-point play in transition.

dark. Next. Should the Wolves reject the notion of tanking?

Up Next

The Wolves head north to take on the Orlando Magic on Friday at 6 p.m. The Magic are just 26-32 but still sit in the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.