The Minnesota Timberwolves improved to 4-1 following All-Star weekend with a resounding road win against the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder.
Minnesota came into the night averaging 119.3 points per game since the break before blowing past that with 77 points in the first half en route to a dominant 138-101 win.
Even without Anthony Edwards, the Timberwolves continued to play at a consistently high level and scored 100+ points for the 53rd consecutive away game. Chris Finch’s team is 14-1 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field including the last three victories. Minnesota is now a season-high six games above .500 at 35-29.
Player grades from the Timberwolves’ resounding win at the Thunder
Naz Reid: A
20 points (8/8 FG, 2/2 3PFG, 2/2 FT), five rebounds, two assists, 1 turnover
The Thunder led 34-32 after a back and forth first quarter before the Timberwolves absolutely exploded for 45 points in the second quarter to open up a double figure lead. It was Minnesota’s 11th 40-point quarter of the season. The bench went on a 19-6 run to break it open and Reid was a big reason why.
He knocked down three straight shots to give the Timberwolves a 51-40 lead and stayed hot after halftime with a couple of 3-pointers and an over-the-shoulder circus shot.
Reid was incredibly efficient in relatively limited playing time, going for 20 points and five rebounds on 8/8 shooting in only 18 minutes off the bench. Not only was he perfect from the field but Reid also knocked down both free throw and 3-point attempts in the win. The LSU product was creating quality shots every time he touched the ball and played a near-perfect game offensively. Reid also finished with a game-high +29 plus/minus.
Karl-Anthony Towns: B+
20 points (7/12 FG, 1/3 3PFG, 5/7 FT), eight rebounds, three assists, three steals
After dropping a game-high 39 points in the win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, Towns came out aggressive in Oklahoma City. The Timberwolves center scored at the rim and then knocked down a 3-pointer to give Minnesota an early lead. He had eight points in the first six minutes and was trading buckets with Isaiah Roby throughout the quarter, in addition to making a great pass to Jaden McDaniels for a two-handed slam.
Towns sat out the start of the second quarter as the Timberwolves bench extended the lead to double digits. He had 14 points and five rebounds at halftime after hitting a pair of free throws in the final seconds to put Minnesota up 77-60. OKC made a run to start the third quarter until Towns took over with a big-time dunk followed by a scooping layup.
With the win in hand, Towns sat out the entire fourth quarter, finishing with a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes.
Taurean Prince: B+
18 points (7/10 FG, 3/5 3PFG, 1/2 FT), five rebounds, two blocks, one assist, one steal
Prince was another bench player that really contributed against Oklahoma City. During the Timberwolves run in the second quarter, he scored multiple buckets including a corner triple to force a timeout. Minnesota made just 1/7 from beyond the arc in the first quarter before finishing the first half 12-of-24 with Prince being one of many benefactors.
After starting slow in the third quarter as well, Prince helped keep the Thunder at bay with back-to-back scores to put the Timberwolves up 88-76. He also beat the buzzer with a layup at the end of the third quarter. Prince had his best scoring night since early February, going for 18 points, five rebounds, and two blocks including three 3-pointers.
Jaden McDaniels: B
16 points (6/12 FG, 3/7 3PFG, 1/2 FT), 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 rebound, 1 block
McDaniels got the start as Edwards missed his second straight game with left knee tendinitis. The sophomore forward filled in nicely as he made two 3-pointers and threw down a highlight dunk in the first quarter. He had 13 points on 5/8 shooting from the field and 3/6 from deep in the first half. It definitely looks like McDaniels is playing with more certainty and confidence than earlier in the season which is a good sign going forward.
Despite coming off the bench for the most part and being the Timberwolves sixth leading scorer, McDaniels is a major x-factor as the team pushes for a playoff spot. He is an extremely versatile defender that is active on both ends of the floor and has been shooting better recently. With Edwards sidelined for the time being, the Timberwolves need role players to step up and McDaniels did exactly that with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Oklahoma City.
The Timberwolves have won three in a row and are 8-4 against division opponents as they attempt to catch the Denver Nuggets for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. Minnesota will head home for two matchups with the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday and Monday before a rematch with Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 9.
The Timberwolves have a great chance to build on their winning streak with four consecutive games against non-playoff teams on deck.