The Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a three-game losing streak with a convincing win over the hapless Orlando Magic.
The Orlando Magic are one of the few teams that could legitimately make a case as a more snake-bitten franchise than the Minnesota Timberwolves — at least over the last year, anyway.
The Magic lost Jonathan Isaac to a season-ending injury before the current season even started, and lost the improving Markelle Fultz to an ACL tear after just eight games. Since trading away Aaron Gordon at the deadline, newly acquired pieces Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. are now out with injuries, too.
Orlando has suited up 28 players over the course of the season. That should tell you about what you need to know.
Needless to say, the Wolves pulled out to an early lead and put this thing away in short order. It was strong, aggressive defense from Minnesota that lead to a flurry of fastbreak scores as the visitors took a 34-19 lead after the first quarter.
Karl-Anthony Towns dominated early, and the starting backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio provided a scoring punch as well. The Wolves built a 27-point lead early in the second quarter. Orlando went on a quick run to get things back under 20, but Minnesota used a 10-3 run to get the lead back to 27.
The game was virtually over at that point. The Wolves’ halftime lead was 74-44, and they went up by 40 midway through the third quarter. Orlando didn’t score their 74th point until the 9:47 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Wolves’ biggest lead was 41, and they were able to hold the Magic below 100 points despite extended garbage time.
Even though Orlando is severely depleted, this was an impressive performance by the Timberwolves on both end of the court and a great bounce-back after three consecutive losses.