Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from loss to the Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks guard Bryn Forbes fouls Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Milwaukee Bucks guard Bryn Forbes fouls Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves lost once again, this time getting blown out at the hands of a Giannis-less Bucks squad.

130. 89. 105. 86. Final

The Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t have Karl-Anthony Towns. The Milwaukee Bucks didn’t have Giannis Antetokounmpo.

And things went about as expected.

The Bucks led the whole way in the Wolves’ second wire-to-wire loss in as many afternoons. Things got out of hand early in the second quarter, as Minnesota once again struggled mightily on offense without their superstar big man.

The Wolves’ defense didn’t fare any better defensively, however,r allowing the Bucks to get what they wanted in transition and from outside the arc. A brief offensive flurry from outside the arc midway through the third quarter pushed the deficit down from 29 points to hovering around 20 for a time, but the defense simply could not slow down Milwaukee.

Put simply, Minnesota’s offense is entirely lost without Towns. Recall how badly the Wolves played after Towns’ wrist injury back in late December — eventually, things got a little bit better, and the team was competitive. But adjusting on the fly without Towns and with little to no practice time is a losing recipe.

Let’s take a look at player grades from the game.

Minnesota Timberwolves Player Grades vs. Milwaukee Bucks

B. Anthony Edwards was generally better in this game than he was in Tuesday’s ugly loss to Brooklyn. He went through a hot stretch from beyond the arc, buoying his numbers on the night, but his decision-making was better and he at least wasn’t entirely inefficient, scoring 24 points on 8-of-22 shooting and 5-of-11 outside the arc. The issue, however, was a lack of defensive effort, and the absence of any want-to on the glass: Edwards had a grand total of zero rebounds in 31 minutes. Not great.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY EDWARDS

JADEN MCDANIELS. A-. Jaden McDaniels was again one of the Wolves’ better players, competing defensively and generally succeeded when matched up one-on-one with Bucks players just 24 hours after a valiant effort against the Nets. He had 13 points and four rebounds in just 26 minutes, including three made 3-pointers on five attempts.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves

Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. NAZ REID. B. Naz Reid started at center for the second consecutive game and had a … curious performance. Reid scored nine points (3-10 FG, 0-4 3P, 3-4 FT) and pulled down 15 rebounds, also adding three blocks, two assists, and two steals. He wasn’t great defensively and didn’t show much urgency on offense. For a player whose biggest weaknesses as a big man is rebounding, it was strange to see him both seem lackadaisical and largely disinterested for stretches of this game, yet finish with a career-high 15 rebounds. In case it wasn’t clear before, it should be inescapably clear now: Naz Reid is a decent backup center with remaining solid upside, but his impact on the game doesn’t come close to resembling Towns’.

Minnesota Timberwolves. RICKY RUBIO. C-. Ricky Rubio had a second consecutive rough game, going scoreless in 19 minutes. He shot 0-of-5 from the field, missing both of his 3-point attempts and turning the ball over twice while contributing only two assists. Clearly, Rubio’s game relies significantly on playing with a big man with the gravity that Karl-Anthony Towns possesses, allowing him more room to operate and cleaner passing lanes than he’s seen in each of the last two games.. Point Guard

JOSH OKOGIE. A. Josh Okogie was great once again, dropping 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting in only 24 minutes. He added a pair of blocks and rebounds and was his typically solid self on the defensive end of the floor. There was a stretch in th second quarter during which Okogie appeared impossibly confident, especially compared to much of what we’ve seen from Josh so far this season. This version of Okogie is the one that would have a genuinely valuable impact when playing between D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves

C. D’Angelo Russell was fantastic in the first half of Tuesday’s loss to Brooklyn and had a terrible second half. Unfortunately, it was his second-half performance that carried over into Wednesday’s game, as it took D’Lo 14 shots to score 15 points. He was just 1-of-5 on 3-point attempts and committed five turnovers while handing out just six assists.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. D'ANGELO RUSSELL

A-. Juancho Hernangomez was great, scoring 18 points (5-6 FG, 3-4 3P, 5-6 FT) inefficient fashion. He only grabbed two rebounds in 22 minutes and was his typically ineffective self defensively, but this version of Hernangomez — namely, the version that makes open 3-pointers and attacks the basket when given the opportunity — is a valuable one.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JUANCHO HERNANGOMEZ

Other Notable Minnesota Timberwolves Players

This game became a blowout during the second quarter, so the minutes distribution was a bit curious in the second half.

Jaylen Nowell only played 10 minutes in his second game back after his absence due to injury. He struggled again, however, going 0-of-4 from the field. Similarly, Jarrett Culver only saw four minutes of time and was scoreless, turning in an 0-for-2 shooting performance.

Jordan McLaughlin had four points and four assists and was the only Wolves player with a positive plus-minus, putting up a +4 in 19 minutes. Ed Davis played nine second-half minutes and had two points, two rebounds, and an impressive block on Bobby Portis.

Jarred Vanderbilt saw minutes at backup center and had another typically active, albeit up-and-down, performance. His line finished at four points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and a steal with two turnovers. It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what his future role on a team might be, but there’s something there. That something remains quite raw, however.

Next. Towns and Russell are a formidable duo. dark

Next up for the Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves will host the Miami Heat at home on Friday night before heading west for a lengthy road trip.