Minnesota Timberwolves: 3 takeaways from resounding win over Rockets in opener

Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images)
Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Anthony Edwards, Josh Okogie
Josh Okogie and Anthony Edwards were a big part of the Minnesota Timberwolves’ defensive improvement. (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images) /

Timberwolves Takeaway No. 2: The improved defensive activity continued

Chris Finch started Josh Okogie and Jaden McDaniels alongside Towns, Edwards and D’Angelo Russell, which was the lineup that brought such great defensive energy to start the preseason opener against the Pelicans.

That lineup — and those two non-stars at the forward spots — set a frenetic defensive tone that followed through on the potential Minnesota showed in the preseason.

Okogie hounded Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green from the opening tip, and McDaniels had three steals and two blocks in the first six minutes. Those two finished with a combined 11 stocks (steals plus blocks), which outpaced their 10 combined points.

The rest of the team followed suit, finishing with 18 steals and 13 blocks as a whole. The Wolves flew around the court, contested almost everything, and maintained the active hands that were so encouraging during preseason play.

Most of all, the energy was relentless and infectious. Players like Malik Beasley, who aren’t known for their defense hustled to make impact defensive plays, many of which led to the Wolves’ 31 fast break points and 38 points off turnovers.


Many of these plays came from the forward rotation of McDaniels, Okogie, Taurean Prince and Jarred Vanderbilt, who won’t create offense themselves but can put the Wolves in a position to score in transition.

“That’s really what we’ve been trying to sell our guys: If we want to be a team that takes a step forward, we have to have that kind of defensive approach,” Finch said.

The Wolves must maintain this level of energy against more experienced teams that will execute much better than the Rockets. They also didn’t have that high level of defensive intensity at all times in the preseason. But on this night, at least, they brought it, as indicated by the 98.1 defensive rating.

Oh, and Patrick Beverley didn’t even play. Feels like he might add something to the energy and defense categories.