Player grades from Minnesota Timberwolves loss’ at the Cleveland Cavaliers

Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives against the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images)
Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves drives against the Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves split the two-game series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, dropping the second night of a back-to-back in a frustrating loss.

98. 86. 100. 156. Final

Well, the sequel is never as good as the original…..

The Minnesota Timberwolves were not able to replicate the success of their first matchup against the Cavs as an all-around poor shooting night doomed the Timberwolves’ chances of putting this one away.

Still, sans Karl-Anthony Towns, the Timberwolves starting lineup shot a ghastly 21-of-56 from the field (37.5 ercent), constantly ruining key defensive stops by coming up empty-handed on the other end.

The defense was solid once again, however, as players like Jaden Mcdaniels and Jarred Vanderbilt were able to slow down the Cavalier’s offense enough to keep the game in reach until the very end.

Besides a close first half, and even holding the lead for a little while in the third quarter, the Timberwolves were mostly playing from behind in this game, with no answer for Cleveland’s young backcourt duo of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. Jarett Allen had a monster game (23 points, 18 rebounds, five blocks) filling in for Andre Drummond.

The Wolves look to stop a new losing streak when they play the Spurs on Wednesday.

Minnesota Timberwolves Player Grades

D'ANGELO RUSSELL. C-. D’Angelo Russell led the team in scoring with 18 points (7-of-19 FG, 3-9 3P), four assists, and two rebounds, but his scoring was inefficient and his numbers were inflated by two late threes in the fourth quarter when the Timberwolves were trying to claw back for the win. Russell continues to take long, contested threes at the beginning of possessions that you could argue were one of the biggest reasons the Wolves were not able to complete the comeback in the fourth, as Russell launched brick after brick from 3-point range. This was a game where Russell needed to show he is capable of being the second star this team can lean on to make the smart plays and big shots when the game is close, but he made too many head-scratching decisions down the stretch.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves

C. In his return from injury, Naz chipped in 10 points, including 2-of-3 on three-pointers in just 13 minutes of action off the bench. Save for hitting two threes in a row in the second half to bring the game within one, Naz mostly struggled, picking up five personals and only three rebounds. Naz looked like a player coming off an injury and should return to form as he gets back to 100 percent.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. NAZ REID

C+. Malik had one of his worst shooting nights of the season (5-14 FG, 0-6 3P) as he never quite found his rhythm. He was still able to be active defensively and found other ways to contribute with seven boards and three assists. Chalk this one up to an off night for the Timberwolves’ most consistent shooter this season, although Beasley making even a third of those six missed threes could have made this game a whole different story.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. MALIK BEASLEY

ED DAVIS. B. Slotted in as a starter once again, Ed David finished with eight points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of action. A day after drawing the tough assignment of guarding Andre Drummond, Davis had his hands full with the powerful play of Jarrett Allen. Despite Allen’s tough interior presence, Davis held up decently and was even able to score a few post hooks over Allen to provide the Timberwolves with some scoring from the center position.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves

B-. Anthony Edwards cooled off a bit after posting a career night against the Cavs yesterday. Still, Edwards’ line of 13 points (5-12 FG), three rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 31 minutes of action in the starting lineup was a positive performance. Edwards made some splash plays in the first half but was mostly a non-factor in the second half as the Timberwolves tried to claw out of a deficit for most of the final two frames. Considering the recent inefficient play of Russell, the Timberwolves should consider giving Edwards more opportunities to make plays late in the fourth quarter when the team needs a bucket.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY EDWARDS

B+. That’s four straight games with 10+ points for Nowell, who continues to prove why he belongs in the Timberwolves rotation, even when the team returns to full health. Nowell chipped in 12 points 5-13 FG) and four boards off the bench in 17 minutes of action, providing a solid defensive effort as well. While the shooting percentage isn’t great, it is clear that the more reps this guy gets, the more he will start to look like the dead eye sharpshooter who tore it up for the Iowa Wolves last season.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. JAYLEN NOWELL

B+. In the closing stages of the fourth quarter with the Timberwolves still in striking distance, Ryan Saunders decided to pull Josh Okogie and send Jaden McDaniels into the game in his place. This speaks volumes to how much the Wolves coaching staff has been impressed by McDaniels and his superb defensive effort and his flashes of offensive excellence. McDaniels finished with 11 points and 4four rebounds and played the same amount of minutes (22) as starter Josh Okogie. It will be interesting to see how the Wolves will run rotations when Juancho Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver come back, as McDaniels is making it very tough for Saunders to keep him on the bench.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JADEN MCDANIELS

B. While not contributing much scoring-wise (4 points, 1-4 FG), Vanderbilt was active on the boards with a team-high nine rebounds and even chipped in some playmaking with four assists. Vando was once again a spark-plug off the bench, bringing his signature hustle and activity on the defensive side of the ball. Vanderbilt’s main issue is being able to control the unlimited amount of energy he brings night in and night out. If he could find a way to turn those fastbreak shots around the rim into more points and can limit the number of false swipes for the ball on defense, Vanderbilt could turn into a scary matchup for opposing bigs going forward.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRED VANDERBILT

Other Minnesota Timberwolves Players

Josh Okogie hit a three for the first time in what seems like forever, but besides some defensive plays, did not contribute a ton. He posted three points on 1-of-3 shooting, two rebounds, two assists, and a team-worst plus-minus of -12.

Ricky Rubio had a quiet game with two points, five rebounds, and four assists in 19 minutes off the bench. Put simply, he was not making as many of the high-IQ plays that led to a win over the Cavs yesterday.

Jake Layman made a momentum-swinging 3-pointer early in this one, but otherwise was invisible the rest of the game. Layman may find himself out of the rotation once Juan Hernangomez and Jarrett Culver return due to the improved play of Jaylen Nowell and Jaden McDaniels.

Next. The case for McLaughlin over Rubio. dark

What’s next for the Minnesota Timberwolves?

The Timberwolves will travel to San Antonio on Wednesday to take on the Spurs for the final time on the First Half schedule with the season series tied at one game apiece.