The Minnesota Timberwolves will head to All-Star Weekend on a sour note, as a horrific shooting night led to a loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.
Timberwolves struggle to score in loss to the Toronto Raptors
The Timberwolves shot the ball terribly on Tuesday night and still managed to beat the Charlotte Hornets. On Wednesday, they shot it equally as bad, but they were not fortunate enough to get the same result.
Indeed, the Wolves followed up a 39.5 percent field goal percentage and 23.6 percent 3-point shooting night on Tuesday by converting on just 39 percent from the field and 23.8 percent on 3-point attempts on Wednesday.
This time around, the first quarter was dominated by the visitors. But Wolves head coach Chris Finch made adjustments on both ends of the floor in the second frame, and Minnesota took a two-point lead into halftime.
Finch’s switch to a zone defense for the middle stages of the second threw a wrench in the Raptors’ offense and slowed them down. Simultaneously, he put the ball in Karl-Anthony Towns hands more frequently in the mid-post, forcing the Raptors to double-team him and leaving shooters open on the perimeter.
Unfortunately, the Wolves simply could not convert on their open 3-point tries as the game wore on. While the defense was solid, the Wolves couldn’t get anything going offensively, this side of Towns and a rapidly improving Jaden McDaniels.
Still, the Wolves were within five points with under three minutes to play in the game. But they couldn’t get the stops defensively and weren’t able to draw any closer.
Player grades from Timberwolves’ home loss to Toronto Raptors
The Wolves had precious few players play well on both ends of the floor in the loss to the Raptors.
Karl-Anthony Towns: A
24 points (9-14 FG, 2-3 3P, 4-5 FT), 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
Another game, another ‘A’ grade for Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Wolves superstar was fantastic once again, adeptly passing out of double-teams, driving to the basket when possible, and stepping back to shoot jumpers when he was faced with soft coverage.
On a night when nobody else in a Wolves jersey brought it on the glass, Towns was the team’s best rebounder and held his own in the paint. It’s hard to overstate just how good Towns has been over the past several weeks.
D’Angelo Russell: C
10 points (2-11 FG, 2-8 3P, 2-3 FT), 7 assists, 3 rebounds, one block
Russell struggled from the start in this one, missing a couple of open shots early in the first quarter. He never got on track, looking strangely tentative at times on offense and not showing interest to put the ball on the floor and create for himself inside the arc.
Russell did commit only one turnover, compared to seven assists in 32 minutes played.
Jaden McDaniels: A-
18 points (6-13 FG, 1-7 3P, 5-6 FT), 7 rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block
McDaniels turned in his second 18-point game in as many nights, picking his spots as a cutter and even putting the ball on the floor to drive and create his own shot.
The only knock for McDaniels of late is the 2-for-13 from beyond the arc that he’s shot over the past two games combined. But he’s been active on the glass, his typically solid self on defense, and has shown a newfound aggressiveness with the ball in his hands on offense.
Anthony Edwards: D
6 points (0-8 FG, 0-5 3P, 6-10 FT), 3 rebounds, one assist
Clearly, Edwards’ ankle was bothering him after sitting out the second half and overtime of Tuesday’s win with the injury. But he gutted this one out, starting and playing 32 minutes.
He wasn’t effective when he was on the floor, however. Although he did attempt 10 free throws, he didn’t make a single shot from the field and didn’t contribute in any other areas, either.
Hopefully, the upcoming All-Star break will allow Edwards’ ankle to heal to a reasonable level.
Next up for the Timberwolves…
The Wolves won’t play again for eight days when they host the Memphis Grizzlies following the All-STar break. We’ll have coverage throughout the weekend, from McDaniels (and hopefully Edwards!) at the Rising Stars Game on Friday, Towns in the 3-point contest on Saturday, and Towns in the All-Star Game itself on Sunday.