Player grades from Timberwolves road win over Kings

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns led the Wolves to their fifth straight victory. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns led the Wolves to their fifth straight victory. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves won a shootout on Tuesday night, outscoring the Sacramento Kings on the road en route to a 20-point victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Malik Beasley lead Timberwolves win over Kings

The Minnesota Timberwolves came into Tuesday night’s game in Sacramento as winners of four straight. The Sacramento Kings were shorthanded after trading away three players earlier in the day.

This could have easily been a game that the Wolves may have sleepwalked through. But thankfully, that didn’t happen.

Minnesota came out playing hard on both ends, scoring at will on offense and generating turnovers on defense. As the game wore on, the Wolves offense kept the pace. Save for a couple of second-half stretches, however, the defense did not.

The visitors were up by six points at halftime, but the tally was 73-67. There wasn’t much defense being played on either side, as the Kings managed to shoot 58.5 percent in the first half and it was only because of the Wolves’ own shooting from the outside and Karl-Anthony Towns general brilliance that Minnesota was able to hold a two-possession lead.

The Wolves gradually grew their lead in the third quarter as Towns and Malik Beasley picked up where they left off in the first half.

It was early in the fourth quarter that the Wolves put the game away for good, using a Towns-driven flurry and a handful of solid defensive possessions to build a lead that finally climbed over 20. The game was virtually over at that point, and Chris Finch was able to rest a few key players who will be asked to take the same floor again in just 24 hours.

Player grades from Timberwolves road win over Kings

Let’s hand out a few player grades from the Timberwolves’ win over the Kings.

Karl-Anthony Towns: A

25 points (10-14 FG, 2-3 3P, 3-3 FT), 9 rebounds, 3 assists

Towns continues to play one of the better stretches of basketball in his entire career to this point. He was again efficient despite not getting to the free throw line very often. He was aggressive on the glass and decent on defense, especially considering the Wolves’ point-of-attack defense kept getting torched.

Malik Beasley: A-

21 points (7-11 FG, 7-8 3P), 2 rebounds, one steal

Beasley has officially strung together several strong games in a row. He scored all 21 of his points on 3-point attempts, and he finally has his ultra-quick, confident shot release back.

Beasley was also one of the Wolves’ better perimeter defense on a night when the unit struggled mightily. If Minnesota can get a handful of made threes and competent defense on a nightly basis from Beasley for the remainder of the season, then the Wolves’ bench will remain one of the league’s best reserve units.

Jordan McLaughlin: A

11 points (5-5 FG, 1-1 3P), 11 assists, 5 rebounds, one steal, one block

It’s hard to imagine a better game from a backup point guard than a perfect shooting night, 11 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, and exactly zero turnovers in 19 minutes played.

McLaughlin was in perfect control throughout the game. His ability operate pick-and-roll in a similarly masterful way as Russell but also turn defense into offense in the open floor with genuine speed is huge for a second unit with athletes like Beasley and Jaden McDaniels. Additionally, his chemistry with Naz Reid is effective — and a ton of fun.

Anthony Edwards: D

5 points (2-12 FG, 0-3 3P, 1-2 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, one steal, 2 turnovers

Anthony Edwards had another rough outing. After having not scored less than nine points in any single game this season, Edwards has now scored just five points in two of the last four games. Prior to that, the last time Edwards had scored only five points was Jan. 22 of 2021 — just the 14th game of his professional career and before he became a starter.

It’s unclear if Edwards’ knee(s) are bothering him or if he’s simply in a bit of a rough patch. It hasn’t hurt the Wolves’ offense as a whole because teams are still loading up on him and he’s been a willing passer — plus, Russell, Towns, and others have more than carried the load.

Next. Why the Wolves should not acquire Marcus Smart. dark

The Wolves stay in Sacramento and will take on the Kings again on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. CT.