The Minnesota Timberwolves rode an impressive performance from Anthony Edwards to a relatively easy win over the Indiana Pacers over Sunday’s matinee.
Anthony Edwards leads the Timberwolves to road win over Pacers
The Timberwolves came into Indianapolis on a two-game losing streak, looking for a win to close out a four-game road trip.
The new-look Indiana Pacers, sans Domantas Sabonis but plus Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield had lost five consecutive games.
The game was sloppy early, which is par for the course for an afternoon game. But the pace was fast and furious and points were easy to come by. The Pacers show the ball well early while the Wolves leaned heavily on transition opportunities and Anthony Edwards to keep pace.
Indiana was up by a score of 37-33 at the start of the second. The Wolves bench did their job early in the second quarter, and when Karl-Anthony Towns returned to the floor after resting at the start of the frame, Minnesota began to take control.
The Wolves weathered a stretch of atrocious officiating that culminated in Towns being called for a touch foul, his third personal of the game, and heading to the bench a couple of minutes before halftime. Still, the Wolves won the quarter by 14 and took a 10-point lead into the locker room.
The third quarter started with the Wolves in control, leading by as many as 18 points. Then, Towns went to the bench with his fourth personal foul and the Wolves bench struggled with the zone defense deployed by the Pacers.
Edwards continued his fantastic performance, keeping the Wolves in front. After a first half that featured several forays to the rim and multiple thunderous dunks from the second-year wing, the second half was all about the 3-pointer. Before the third quarter was over, Edwards had 31 points on his ledger for the game.
The fourth quarter featured just a sliver of drama as the Pacers hung around, even pulling as close as two points on multiple occasions. But the Wolves eventually pushed the lead back to multiple possessions and enjoyed a four-point possession on a dynamic Edwards drive to the rim that resulted in an and-one opportunity, but when he missed the free throw, Towns grabbed the rebound and dished a no-look pass to Jaden McDaniels for a dunk that extended the lead to eight.
Player grades from Timberwolves’ road win over the Indiana Pacers
Several Timberwolves players had strong games on Sunday afternoon. Let’s hand out some grades.
Anthony Edwards: A
37 points (13-25 FG, 7-13 3P, 4-7 FT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, one block
Edwards was phenomonal throughout the game. His drives to the rim early led the Pacers to try and play back slightly. Edwards’ response was to knock down a bevy of 3-pointers. Then, when Indiana tried playing up on him again, he blew by the defense to seal the game late.
Edwards was solid defensively too, and even beyond the four steals that appear in the box score. He was active and aggressive, providing the pressure that some of the Wolves other guards have failed to apply of late.
Karl-Anthony Towns: B
15 points (5-12 FG, 1-1 3P, 4-4 FT), 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 6 turnovers
Towns played well overall, although his foul trouble limited him to just 22 minutes. Somehow, he managed to turn it over six times in his limited playing time, although that number included three offensive fouls — at least two of which were certainly questionable.
Towns was great in the second quarter, prior to the fouls racking up. The Pacers simply had no answer for him, and it was a shame that he couldn’t stay on the floor.
D’Angelo Russell: A-
23 points (8-14 FG, 3-6 3P, 4-4 FT), 6 assists, 2 rebounds, one steal
Russell’s ultra-efficient 23 points on 14 shots were somehow relatively quiet. He came up big when Towns was on the bench due to foul trouble and had some quick answers for the Pacers’ flamethrowing against the Wolves’ oft-shoddy defense.
Russell also pitched in with six assists to only one turnover in 35 minutes of play.
Patrick Beverley: A
13 points (4-8 FG, 3-6 3P, 2-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, one steal
This was a vintage PatBev game. Beverley picked his spots offensively and knocked down 3-pointers when given the chance. He pitched in on the glass and was aggressive defensively.
When the Wolves’ offense was scuffling a little bit early, Beverley hit some key shots. With the Pacers hanging around in the fourth quarter and threatening to surge ahead, Chris Finch put Beverley back into the game and his veteran guard helped to stabilize things in short order.
The Wolves head back home for two games leading into All-Star Weekend and will get to stay home after the midseason festivities for two more games, totaling a four-game homestand.