Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from loss to Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies swarmed Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards but they could not slow him down. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The Memphis Grizzlies swarmed Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards but they could not slow him down. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

The story of this game was not the Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss. It was Anthony Edwards’ insanely efficient and dominant performance.

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The Minnesota Timberwolves had a chance to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, taking a lead late midway through the third quarter despite trailing by 10 at halftime. Ultimately, however, Karl-Anthony Towns’ foul trouble and a dominant night by Ja Morant were too much for the Wolves to overcome.

But that isn’t what everyone wants to talk about in the wake of the loss.

The conversation starts and ends with Anthony Edwards and his extremely serious bid for the Rookie of the Year award.

Edwards didn’t do much early in the game, but he heated up in a major way in the middle stages. He almost single-handedly led the Wolves’ third-quarter comeback as they went on a 30-15 run and surged ahead by five.

But with Towns on the bench with five fouls late in the third, the Wolves could not do enough defensively in the paint or on the glass to extend their lead. The Grizzlies stormed back, and Minnesota simply could not slow down Morant, the reigning Rookie of the Year award-winner.

The Wolves were still in the game down the stretch, down just two with 1:43 left. But Towns threw the ball out of bounds in an unforced error. Then, after another make from Morant, D’Angelo Russell knocked down a shot to pull Minnesota back with two.

But after a Morant miss, the Wolves couldn’t secure the rebound and Desmond Bane knocked down a 3-pointer to effectively seal the game.

The home team made it somewhat interesting after Morant missed a pair of three free throws down the stretch and an Edwards 3-pointer got the Wolves to within three with under 10 seconds to play. Bane missed the front-end of his free throw attempts to give the Wolves a glimmer of hope, but he made the second to secure a two-possession lead.

Minnesota Timberwolves Player Grades vs. Memphis Grizzlies

It was something of an odd night for Karl-Anthony Towns. The story was foul trouble, as he picked up his fifth foul late in the third quarter and had to sit until just past the midway of the fourth. For the game, Towns played just 24 minutes and had 22 points, five assists, and four rebounds while shooting 7-of-15 from the floor. He was 3-of-6 from outside the arc and a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. There were a few layups and post moves that simply rimmed out, and when he was actually on the floor and not committing fouls, he played solid defense for the most part.. Center. Minnesota Timberwolves. KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS. B

Minnesota Timberwolves. ANTHONY EDWARDS. A. Anthony Edwards had the most impressive offensive performance of his young career, dropping 42 points on just 22 shots. He somehow only attempted one free throw despite putting up 10 shots in the paint, but he was 8-of-9 from outside the arc. Edwards started the game with judicious shot selection but as the game went on, he simply started launching from everywhere. And it didn’t matter — everything was going in. Also significant was his career-high seven assists and six rebounds in an all-around fantastic game for the potential Rookie of the Year.. Wing

A-. D’Angelo Russell rejoined the starting lineup for the first time since returning from knee surgery. It was a mostly solid performance with 22 points (6-13 FG, 2-5 3P, 8-8 FT), 14 assists, and four rebounds, although he did turn the ball over five times. The Wolves’ entire offense was sloppy early in the game and D’Lo was definitely part of that. Still, he was strong down the stretch and continues to put on a clinic in ball-screen action.. Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. D'ANGELO RUSSELL

B-. Jaden McDaniels was his typical quiet self on offense and struggled at times defensively. After Josh Okogie spent most of the first half matched up with Morant, McDaniels drew the assignment more often in the second half. The Wolves rookie finished with eight points, three rebounds, and two assists and committed five fouls in 26 minutes.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JADEN MCDANIELS

JOSH OKOGIE. B. Josh Okogie’s performance was similar to McDaniels: a half of mostly struggling against Morant and a quiet offensive showing. Okogie did have a stronger second half, however, helping to key the Wolves’ third-quarter run with a couple of strong plays on the defensive end of the floor. He finished with six points and five rebounds.. Wing. Minnesota Timberwolves

B. Naz Reid was a monster in the first half, putting up 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds. His second half was a bit spottier in relief of Towns, as his offensive game stopped clicking and he didn’t provide much defensive resistance or enough help on the glass.. Big. Minnesota Timberwolves. NAZ REID

Ricky Rubio headed back to the bench and was quiet, with only two points (0-3 FG, 0-2 3P, 2-2 FT), four rebounds, and four assists in only 17 minutes.. Point Guard. Minnesota Timberwolves. RICKY RUBIO. C

C+. Juancho Hernangomez scuffled a bit in his 25 minutes off the bench; while he scored 11 points, it took him 10 shots to get there and he was only 2-of-6 outside the arc. Hernangomez was aggressive trying to get into the paint on drives and cuts, but couldn’t finish with enough regularity.. Forward. Minnesota Timberwolves. JUANCHO HERNANGOMEZ

A. Jarred Vanderbilt had his best game in some time, provided a much-needed burst of energy in the second half. He played 26 minutes, his most in a game since Feb. 24 at Chicago — Chris Finch’s second game as head coach. Vando put up eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and pulled down five rebounds, also adding a pair of steals a block.. Big. Minnesota Timberwolves. JARRED VANDERBILT

Head coach Chris Finch shortened his rotation to just nine players in this game, leaving Jordan McLaughlin on the bench.

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Next up for the Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves head out on the road for their final trip away from Target Center this season. They’ll be in Miami to take on the Heat on Friday night for a 7 p.m. CT tip.