The Minnesota Timberwolves used a stellar first quarter and a strong close to the game to hold off the Oklahoma City Thunder at Target Center on Wednesday night.
The Timberwolves hold off the Oklahoma City Thunder for a home win
The Timberwolves welcomed back Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell for Wednesday night’s tilt against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it was three other players who carried the Wolves to a victory.
The Wolves dominated the first quarter, using suffocating defense and strong shooting to build a 30-10 lead. The Thunder shot just 18.8 percent from the field in the frame and the Wolves forced several turnovers due to their length and activity.
As the game moved into the second quarter, however, the Wolves couldn’t buy a bucket, either, eventually going on a 2-for-15 skid from the field. The Thunder climbed back into things, pulling to within 13 points at halftime.
After Karl-Anthony Towns picked up his fourth foul (and a technical foul to go with it) in the third quarter, the Thunder crept closer. Eventually, the deficit shrunk all the way to one point in the fourth quarter.
Due to Russell’s shooting woes in his return, the Wolves used a closing lineup with Jaylen Nowell in his place. Nowell, Anthony Edwards, and Patrick Beverley were all fantastic as the Wolves pulled away down the stretch. The Thunder couldn’t buy a bucket, and the Wolves did just enough to hold them off.
Player grades from Timberwolves’ win over Oklahoma City Thunder
Let’s take a look at a few player grades from the Wolves’ victory over the Thunder.
Patrick Beverley: A
20 points (6-11 FG, 5-9 3P, 3-4 FT), 6 assists, 4 rebounds, one steal, one block
Beverley was phenomenal once again, setting the tone on both ends of the floor with fantastic defense throughout and timely shooting throughout the first quarter.
Beverley’s on-ball defense helped limit the Thunder backcourt from getting into anything resembling a rhythm, and even though his shooting stroke cooled as the game went on, he effectively controlled the game when he was on the court.
Jaylen Nowell: A
16 points (6-6- FG, 1-1 3P, 3-3 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Nowell remained in the regular rotation even after the returns of Russell and Towns, and ended up playing crunch time in place of the scuffling Russell.
Nowell ran the second unit for stretches but also played some with Beverley. He was fantastic regardless of his role, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and only turning the ball over once in 23 minutes.
Anthony Edwards: B
22 points (8-17 FG, 4-10 3P, 2-3 FT), 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 2 assists
Edwards was solid in this game and helped set the tone early, nabbing four of his five steals in the first quarter. His offense heated up as the game went on as his hot shooting carried over from Monday’s win over the LA Clippers.
When Anthony Edwards is competing on defense and playing a well-rounded game on offense, the Wolves are incredibly hard to beat.
The Wolves head to Oklahoma City to take on these same Thunder on Friday night.