The Minnesota Timberwolves lost a heartbreaking game to the San Antonio Spurs at home on Saturday night.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had Karl-Anthony Towns back in what became their closest game of the season – one which the team struggled to contain star wing DeMar DeRozan.
When the game started, it was immediately noticed how much of an impact Towns has on the Timberwolves – and just how much the team revolves around his success.
The game was close basically the entire time, with the exception of the final two minutes of overtime, which the Spurs lead seems *just* out of reach.
Here are our player grades from the close loss.
Ricky Rubio had a decent game, and ended up playing 34 total minutes. He was 3-7 from the field and did not attempt a single 3-pointer. Rubio came in and was able to facilitate at a high level, but largely still looked nearly unplayable in crunch time, being lackluster on the defensive end while not doing enough offensively to warrant him being on the floor.
Naz Reid played very, very well offensively for the Timberwolves last night. He made 6-of-8 shots from the field, with three of those being 3-pointers. Reid also added seven rebounds and three blocks to that, and was arguably the best player off of the bench for Minnesota.
Edwards did the usual thing he does – show flashes, and boy are those flashes promising. That said, he made one crucial mistake last night in overtime, choosing to drive to the rim rather than attempt a 3-point shot, down by three points with a single-digit number of seconds left. Overall, he did enough to be a positive player for Minnesota on Saturday.
Okay, I’m going to say it. I don’t know how you can play either Juan Hernangomez or Jake Layman over Jarred Vanderbilt at this point. He’s a drastically better defender than either of those players, and is more willing to give the ball up while in the post. He’s more-so conducive to winning basketball and should be seeing 20+ minutes per game. He brings everything the Timberwolves need in a power forward, and some.
After shooting pretty poorly over the past stretch of games, it seems as though any confidence Culver had in his jumper is gone. He finished with ten points and eight rebounds, but man, he has to be more willing to take long-distance shots, and that one skill could unlock what the Timberwolves do to an even greater extent.
D’Angelo Russell is one of the main reasons that the Timberwolves were even in overtime to begin with. That said, some of the shots he took in the final period of play were questionable at best. He is an electric scorer that brings a lot of playmaking, but he has to be more consistent if Minnesota wants to win games.
Malik Beasley is proving that he is worth his contract very early on. He is averaging 18.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.9 assists on splits of 45/38/89. Beasley has been the Wolves’ best wing player by a comfortable margin. He looks to be a long-term piece of the current core, and is locked in after his four-year extension this offseason.
Karl-Anthony Towns seemingly rushed his return in an effort to help his 2-6 Wolves/ He’s a leader by every definition, and was more than good in his return tonight. He had 25 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks in 37 minutes, and was pretty clearly the player that the Timberwolves relied on the most throughout the game. It is great to have him back.
Ryan Saunders’ mismanagement of Saturday night’s game should not be taken lightly. He’s been given a pass over the course of the first ten games due to the absence of Towns, but his failure to adjust in the fourth quarter and overtime is the reason that Minnesota lost the game – not because of any one particular player. Saunders has to be better, or else the Wolves might have someone else as head coach soon.