Minnesota Timberwolves: Takeaways from win over the Milwaukee Bucks

Jarred Vanderbilt is likely to play a significant role on this year's Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jarred Vanderbilt is likely to play a significant role on this year's Minnesota Timberwolves. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Hello D’Angelo Russell, and hello to the rest of the offense! It’s hunting season, and the Minnesota Timberwolves scored themselves a five-point Buck.

How the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Milwaukee Bucks

The Timberwolves started the game 7-for-7 from the field and got out to a 16-7 lead with 8:40 left in the first, and it didn’t stop there.

The offense was the talk of the town after a rough first three games from the field, and the Timberwolves fired back to the criticism by scoring more points in the first quarter than they scored in the first half of the Pelicans game with 44. The Bucks tried to keep pace but found themselves down ten heading into the second, as the defense continued to swarm and cause a frenzy for the Bucks offense.

The inner pessimist in me was waiting for the offense to cool off in the second, but the vibe of this game just felt different, and after Naz Reid got a board in-between four defenders, it was clear that we were in for a show.

The 10-point lead quickly ballooned to 20 with 9:30 left in the second, forcing Milwaukee to take a timeout. It was a well-timed stoppage, as the reigning champs came out with fight and determination, going on a 16-2 run to bring the Bucks within six. Finch may have been a little late on his timeout, but ultimately, the Wolves calmed the storm early, which is something old Wolves teams would be unable to manage. They ended up maintaining an eight-point lead by halftime.

The third quarter started as back-and-forth as it gets, with Jarred Vanderbilt saving the Wolves with an offensive board on what seemed like every miss. But it was the Wolves who were able to consistently harass on defense and get the lead back to 15 points. McDaniels holding Middleton to 2-6 from the field at this point, and multiple defenders collapsing on Antetokounmpo.

Looking to put the Bucks away and get the bad taste of the Pelican’s loss out of their mouth, the Wolves came out of the break with drive and firepower. The Wolves looked dominant, plain and simple. The game was never again in reach for the Bucks — or so we thought.

The game started unraveling for the Wolves while the offense once again became stagnant. We all patiently waited for Finch to call a time out, but it never came. Timberwolves fans were nervously watching that clock tick to 0:00, and nervously is putting it lightly.

But Anthony Edwards scored on a tough three-point play and sunk important free throws down the stretch to secure a five-point victory in a game that the Wolves lead wire-to-wire.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Takeaways from win over the Milwaukee Bucks

Dennis Rodman Wishes He Was As Dominant As Jarred Vanderbile

Jarred Vanderbilt’s line: 10 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and 100 reasons to go buy a Vanderbilt jersey if this keeps up.

The box score does not do the heart and hustle justice. Vanderbilt in the starting lineup is a must moving forward — talk about a player that knows their role! His six offensive rebounds seemed to all lead to a made 3-pointer from the Wolves, and really was the reason the Wolves were able to pull away again in the third.

I wrote down ‘Vanderbilt = rebounds.”  I then added “Amazing!” halfway through the game, and finally added “The G.O.A.T.!” before the final buzzer.  Build him a statue, I’ve seen enough.

This Is Not Your Old Minnesota Timberwolves

The Timberwolves came into this game angry, and boy did it work, as they played up to the competition of last season’s champs, and entirely exceeded expectations.

Getting the early lead in the first, we waited for it to slip away, but then it didn’t. The Bucks went on a 16-2 run, we waited for the collapse to never end, but then it did; the Wolves took it on the chin and came back with their own right hook. We waited for the fourth quarter to see them completely lose effort and hope to coast to the end, but then they didn’t.

Yes, it got tight at the end, but the Wolves still got the job done. I am big on going off gut feeling. Versus the Pelicans, something seemed off right away, all the little things were going wrong.  But this game, it felt so good right off the bat.

This is not the old Timberwolves.

Call a timeout, Chris Finch!

During the first run the Bucks went on, I waited for Finch to call a timeout. It came way too late, however, as the Bucks regained 14 points of ground.

Finch did a good job in the middle of the game calling the timeouts to cancel out the momentum the Bucks were gaining, so I forgave him for the first mishap. But then the end of the game happened. The Bucks were getting whatever they wanted, the Wolves offense didn’t know what to do, everyone was standing around.

Finch had two timeouts, and he didn’t take one to draw up a play or calm the team down. The Wolves barely had the lead at this point, believe it was two points when the ball was passed into Edwards and he was trapped in the corner. Call a timeout Finch!

Frankly, the Wolves were lucky that Edwards was fouled; he was not dribbling or passing out of that. There were eight seconds left. Call. A. Timeout.

Secondary Thoughts

  • I’ve never been so excited about every rebound.
  • Wow, Patrick Beverley is more than just defense and grit. Man can shoot!
  • No Okogie at all after being the starter.
  • This team is deep! The bench unit really held their own when the starters needed a break.
  • Towns kept emotions in check, but I still worry about body language toward teammates.  Like when he and another player grab the same board.
  • Towns is the best shooting big man in NBA history, and this is not up for debate.
  • When doubled, Towns needs to work on dribbling back out to the key or finding a different way to move the ball, cause what happened this game was not working.
  • And finally, once again, hello D’Angelo Russell.

Next. Wolves in Week One power rankings.... dark

The Wolves are now 3-1 and next take on the Denver Nuggets back at Target Center on Saturday night.