Player grades from Timberwolves’ victory over Dallas Mavericks

Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell celebrates during the win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell celebrates during the win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves held on to win against a short-handed Dallas Mavericks team on Sunday night at Target Center.

Timberwolves use well-rounded attack to defeat Dallas Mavericks

The Minnesota Timberwolves were without Anthony Edwards, Josh Okogie, and Taurean Prince due to health and safety protocols.

The Dallas Mavericks were without superstar Luka Doncic due to an injured ankle, and several other rotation players, including Reggie Bullock, due to illness/health and safety protocols.

Given the short-handedness of both teams, it’s not surprising that the game was a little rough around the edges in general. But the Wolves did enough defensively and on the glass to hang on for a two-possession win, jumping over the Mavericks in the Western Conference standings in the process.

The Wolves led for much of the game, building a six-point lead by halftime behind a big first half from Karl-Anthony Towns.

As the Mavericks were heating up in the third quarter, however, it was Jaylen Nowell who caught fire for the Wolves. The little-used guard scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half, spanning the late third quarter into the fourth frame.

With Malik Beasley sliding into the starting lineup in place of Edwards and both Okogie and Prince unavailable as well, Nowell took advantage of the opportunity and showcased his scoring ability, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and also distributing the ball adeptly, racking up three assists and zero turnovers in 18 minutes.

The Wolves were up three in the final minutes when D’Angelo Russell drew a foul on a “rip-through” move. The Wolves were in the bonus so Russell went to the line and knocked down both free throws. Minnesota got the stop on the other end and Towns all but secured the game by pulling down a big defensive board.

While a bit sloppy on both ends of the floor at times, this was still an impressive win for the Wolves and a well-rounded performance from their best players.

Player grades from Timberwolves’ victory over Dallas Mavericks

Let’s take a look at a few player grades from the Timberwolves’ win.

Karl-Anthony Towns: B+

24 points (6-15 FG, 1-3 3P, 11-13 FT), 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 turnovers, one steal

This was another steady game from Towns. He was great in the first half, getting to the free throw line at a high frequency and mixing it up defensively.

He cooled off a bit in the second half but hit his only 3-pointer in a big spot in the fourth quarter. Towns was generally even all the way around in this one, continuing to be content with taking what the defense gave him.

D’Angelo Russell: A-

22 points (8-16 FG, 4-7 3P, 2-2 FT), 3 assists, 2 rebounds

Russell had yet another solid if unspectacular game. He got hot in the third quarter and had the big free throws in the final minute, but he was again adequate on defense and ran the offense with great composure.

Having a point guard who can get his own shot at any time is such a luxury, and it’s something that most Wolves teams throughout franchise history have lacked.

Jaylen Nowell: A+

16 points (6-9 FG, 2-2 3P, 2-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 3 assists

Nowell took advantage of his opportunity and dominated a several-minutes stretch spanning the third and fourth quarter. He scored at all three levels, initiated offense, and did a solid job on defense.

If Edwards is back on Tuesday for the rematch against the Mavs, expect Nowell to still get an opportunity to contribute off the bench.

Jarred Vanderbilt: A

6 points (3-4 FG, 0-2 FT), 10 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal, one block, 38 minutes

Vanderbilt was fantastic once again. He played with his typical energy on both ends of the floor, leading the Wolves’ swarming defense while leading the team in minutes played.

Together with Patrick Beverley, Vanderbilt has changed the Wolves’ culture entirely on the defensive end of the floor. It’s games like this, when the team wasn’t at their absolute best on either end of the floor, that their energy can help make up the difference in a win.

Next. How Towns, Vando dominate the offensive glass. dark

The Wolves have now won four straight games and take on the Mavericks again on Tuesday night.