Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves road loss to Magic

D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves failed to follow-up on their impressive win in Miami on Wednesday, giving up 136 points in a loss in Orlando on Friday night.

38. Final. 125. 86. 136

The Minnesota Timberwolves played stout defense down the stretch in a comeback win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday. It was fair to wonder if defensive coordinator David Vanterpool‘s tutilege had finally taken hold, and if the Wolves were beginning to turn a corner on defense.

Alas, no real progress appears to have been made.

The Magic scored a season-high 136 points en route to what turned into a relatively easy win over the Wolves, despite an impressive display from D’Angelo Russell.

Russell had 18 points by halftime but cooled off slightly in the second half. That wasn’t the biggest issue for the Wolves, however. The defense, along with bench play and rebounding, were all massive issues.

Minnesota was embarrassed on the glass, out-rebounded by a 54 to a 33 margin. Juan Hernangomez pulled down 13 rebounds, and Josh Okogie was second on the Wolves with just five boards.

The Wolves’ bench struggled in basically all facets, but the five players who appeared off the pine combined to grab just seven rebounds — in a combined 87 minutes. Every single bench player had a plus-minus of -11 or worse, with Jarrett Culver‘s -23 bringing up the rear.

Everyone in the starting lineup except for Malik Beasley was a positive, with Josh Okogie’s +15 leading the way.

When Russell headed to the bench with 2:11 left on the clock in the third quarter, the Wolves trailed by a score of 97-95. When he reentered the game with 8:08 left in the fourth, the score was 117-103. Yep, that’s a 22-6 run with Russell on the bench, and it was all but over by the time he came back in the game.

Overall, the defensive issues and rebounding struggles were significant, to say the least, regardless of how impressive the offense continues to be.

Player Grades

A-. D’Angelo Russell had another good game. He started hot, with 12 first-quarter points and 18 by halftime. He finished with 28 on 11-of-22 shooting, including 5-of-11 from beyond the arc. He was only 1-of-2 from the free throw line, however, and had seven assists to four turnovers. Two of Russell’s miscues were early in the first quarter, and he mostly did a good job taking care of the ball after that. He was active on defense, too, taking a charge at one point in the third quarter and doing a good job of quarterbacking the team.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. D'ANGELO RUSSELL

Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. MALIK BEASLEY. B-. This was just an okay game from Malik Beasley. Outside of a couple of nice drives to the rim, he wasn’t terribly efficient on offense and didn’t contribute in many other areas. Beasley still scored 17 points, but it took him 18 shots to get there. He was 3-of-9 from 3-point range and he had only four rebounds and one assist.

This was probably Juanch’s best game in a Wolves uniform. He put up 18 points (6-11 FG, 4-8 3P, 2-2 FT), 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block with only two turnovers in 31 minutes. He had a great fourth quarter, helping the Wolves stay within reasonable striking distance. This is exactly the kind of performance that Minnesota needs out of Hernangomez, especially with Towns unavailable.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JUANCHO HERNANGOMEZ. A

Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE. A-. After a series of quiet games, Josh Okogie was really good on Friday. He had 14 points (4-6 FG, 1-3 3P, 5-6 FT), five rebounds, four assists and one steal. Okogie was solid on both ends, mostly guarding <a rel=

<a rel=. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. NAZ REID. C+

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

Other Players

Jake Layman had nine points in 14 minutes, shooting 3-of-7 from the field. He failed to grab a rebound or dish out any assists, however.

Jordan McLaughlin cooled off just a bit, putting up six rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes. After the success of the McLaughlin-Russell backcourt down the stretch in Miami on Wednesday, Ryan Saunders went to it again a couple of times in Orlando, but with mixed results.

Kelan Martin was good early but got into quick foul trouble. He only played 12 minutes and had four points and a rebound.

Culver struggled, with five points on seven attempts, two rebounds and one assist. As mentioned, his -23 plus-minus in 17 minutes was a game-worst.

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Up Next

The Wolves head back to Minneapolis to host the Dallas Mavericks for a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday afternoon.