Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves home loss to Mavericks

Head Coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves on the sidelines. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Head Coach Ryan Saunders of the Minnesota Timberwolves on the sidelines. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves returned to their losing ways on Sunday afternoon, falling behind early to the Dallas Mavericks and losing by 20.

111. 79. 91. 86. Final

On the heels of a disappointing loss in Orlando on Friday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves put up another stinker on Sunday, this time at home and against a Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks squad.

Despite no Doncic stirring the Maverick’s drink, Kristaps Porzingis assumed the mantel of the Mavs’ best player and was dominant, putting up 38 points and making 6-of-14 attempts from 3-point range. He also added 13 rebounds and five blocks against the Wolves’ struggling frontline.

Since Karl-Anthony Towns went down with a wrist fracture just prior to All-Star Weekend, the Wolves have struggled mightily in the paint on both ends of the floor. Despite competing in the rebounding category in this one, the Wolves couldn’t seem to buy a bucket from right underneath the basket.

That was the theme early in the game, when the Wolves were competing on both ends, trailing by only four after the first quarter and hanging within a couple of possessions for much of the second period. But they shot just 6-for-15 from the free throw line for the game — yes, the free throw line, not the 3-point line — and they left plenty of points on the floor both there and in the paint.

The Mavs slowly pulled away, using a flurry just prior to halftime to increase their lead to 19 at the break. They pushed it to 26 in the third before the Wolves used a 12-2 run to get back within 13 points before Kelan Martin fouled Porzingis on a 3-point attempt with 0.4 on the clock. Kristaps made all three free throws, and the lead was back to 16.

The Mavericks continued to pull away early in the fourth quarter, and the comeback never felt entirely serious from the Wolves as Dallas put things to bed with relative ease.

The Wolves competed defensively for much of the afternoon, keeping them in the game, but the offense was listless from start to finish. As a team, the Wolves shot just 36.4 percent from the floor, 6-for-15 (40 percent) from the free throw line and 31 percent from beyond the arc. They were 6-of-13 from the free throw line in the first half, somehow only attempting two freebies in the second half and missing them both.

Thankfully, the schedule lightens up considerably in the next week or so with the next four games coming against teams under the .500 mark.

Player Grades

D'ANGELO RUSSELL. B-. <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

Minnesota Timberwolves. MALIK BEASLEY. C+. <a href=. Wing

B. <a rel=. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JUANCHO HERNANGOMEZ

A-. <a href=. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. JOSH OKOGIE

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

B+. <a rel=. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRETT CULVER

Other Players

Jake Layman played well in 15 minutes, the most he’s played since his return from injury. He shot just 2-of-7 but made a 3-pointer and was somehow a +12 in the plus-minus column — the only Wolf with a plus-minus higher than +1.

James Johnson only had four points, four rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes. After being ultra-aggressive offensively of late, Johnson only got up four shot attempts.

Jordan McLaughlin struggled a bit with his shot, scoring four points on 1-of-4 shooting and 2-of-4 from the free throw line. He did add four steals, three assists and two rebounds with only one turnover.

Kelan Martin had five points in 12 minutes, getting up seven shots but only making two, including 1-of-4 from beyond the arc. Jaylen Nowell was scoreless in three minutes of garbage time.

Next. Wolves admit mistake, cut bait with Crabbe. dark

Next Up

The Wolves will head right back out on the road after a one-game “homestand”. They’ll be in New Orleans for a 7 p.m. tip-off against the Pelicans on Tuesday night.