Minnesota Timberwolves: Player grades from narrow loss to Nuggets

Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to shoot against the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Malik Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to shoot against the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves slipped to 3-2 with a last-second loss against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night as a pair of game-tying attempts fell short in the final seconds. Minnesota lost 93-91 after holding a 14-point lead in the first half.

Karl-Anthony Towns helped the team get off to a quick start, where they lead 32-23 after the first quarter, but the Timberwolves couldn’t capitalize late in the game as both Malik Beasley and Anthony Edwards barely missed just before the buzzer.

Here are a few player grades from the narrow loss against the Nuggets:

Malik Beasley Player Grade: B+

18 points (6-14 FG, 6-10 3PFG, 0-0 FT), 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal

Beasley might have finally started to break out of his early-season slump, scoring a team-high 18 points on 6-10 shooting from beyond the arc. He came into the game averaging just 6.5 points on 4-18 from 3-point range but caught fire in the second and third quarter as Minnesota’s main source of offense. It would have been an appropriate finish for Beasley to lay in the game-tying bucket but Will Barton came up with a spectacular block to seal the win for Denver.

Anthony Edwards Player Grade: C+

14 points (6-19 FG, 0-6 3PFG, 2-2 FT), 11 rebounds, 1 assist

Edwards couldn’t find his rhythm from the perimeter for a second straight game, scoring a season-low 14 points in 34 minutes. He has shot 6-27 on 3-pointers attempts in his last three outings after a 9-20 start to the season. Despite struggling to score at his normal rate, Edwards remained aggressive and cut the deficit to one possession with 31.6 seconds left. Just like Beasley, the sophomore guard had a shot to send the game to overtime but it barely rolled off the rim as Nikola Jokic contested the putback.

Karl-Anthony Towns Player Grade: C+

14 points (4-11 FG, 2-5 3PFG, 4-4 FT), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal

Towns scored nine points in the first quarter, helping Minnesota jump out to an early advantage but it was pretty much downhill from there as he shot just 2-9 from the field after that. The 6’11 center had a few nice moments, including a physical steal and outlet for a fastbreak score, but Towns struggled against Nikola Jokic at times and failed to have an impact down the stretch. He scored zero points in the fourth quarter and looked passive with the game on the line.

Jaden McDaniels Player Grade: D

2 points (1-7 FG, 0-4 3PFG, 0-0 FT), 5 rebounds, 1 assist

McDaniels has gotten off to an extremely slow start this season and had arguably his worst performance in the 93-91 loss against Denver. The 6’9 forward has connected on just 7-25 attempts in five games and made one shot on Saturday night. He played a season-low 25 minutes but had an open look at a 3-pointer in the final minute before it rimmed out. The Timberwolves really need another player to step up on both ends but McDaniels hasn’t been able to become that yet.

Next. What will happen if the Wolves miss the Playoffs?. dark

Following the loss to the Nuggets, Minnesota will return to the court against the Orlando Magic on Monday night at home before hosting the Los Angeles Clippers twice next week. Chris Finch’s team then faces a potentially grueling 4-game road trip against the Grizzlies, Warriors, Lakers, and Clippers again. The Timberwolves are currently a game back in the Northwest division after a notable road win over the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks a few days ago.