The Minnesota Timberwolves easily overcame the absence of two members of their Big Three, defeating the shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers by 43 points on Monday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns has another big game in Timberwolves’ win
The Timberwolves didn’t have Anthony Edwards for a fourth consecutive game on Monday night. They also didn’t have D’Angelo Russell, who sat out with a quadriceps contusion.
But that didn’t matter. They defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, who were also shorthanded, by a resounding margin for the second time in three days. The Blazers were missing Anfernee Simons, who put up a game-high 38 points in the loss to the Wolves on Saturday, among other rotation players.
The Wolves used another double-digit first quarter from Karl-Anthony Towns to get them started. Patrick Beverley set the tone defensively, and the Wolves had a 31-15 lead after the opening period.
The game was effectively over at that point, as the Blazers’ no-name bench couldn’t keep pace with a Wolves unit that has increased in both effectiveness and confidence over the past several weeks. Minnesota’s lead was up to 27 points by halftime as Towns and Co. continued to dominate in the paint, both in the scoring column and on the glass.
Towns took a seat partway through the third quarter, and his night was done. Josh Okogie played the final 20 minutes of the game, and Jake Layman played the entirety of the fourth quarter as the Wolves played out the string, only increasing their lead as garbage time wore on.
Player grades from the Timberwolves win over the Trail Blazers
Let’s hand out a few player grades from the Wolves’ win over the Blazers.
Karl-Anthony Towns: A
27 points (8-14 FG, 1-1 3P, 10-15 FT), 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, one assist, one steal
You know you’ve had a good game when the only blemish to find is that you shot just 67 percent on your 15 free throw attempts. But here we are. That’s just how good Towns was.
KAT was unequivocally the best player on both ends of the floor in this one, controlling the paint and the glass with ease. He dropped 27 points on just 14 shots, all coming in only 24 minutes. Quite an efficient and effective night’s work.
Patrick Beverley: B+
6 points (2-7 FG, 1-5 3P, 1-2 FT), 10 rebounds, 7 assists, one block
Beverley was an absolute tone-setter in this one, coming out flying around the floor and dominating defensively on the perimeter. While he struggled a bit with his jumper in this one, he was ultra-active on the glass and made his presence felt in his 22 minutes.
Jordan McLaughlin: A-
11 points (4-8 FG, 1-3 3P, 2-3 FT), 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, one block
Jordan McLaughlin’s play off the bench continues to be an absolute revelation. He was a terror on defense, jumping passing lanes and deflecting passes left and right. McLaughlin also continues to be a steadying and stabilizing force offensively as well, running the second unit with skill.
Taurean Prince: C
5 points (2-9 FG, 1-6 3P), 3 rebounds, one block, 4 turnovers
This was Taurean Prince’s worst game in a while. He sat out the second half o Saturday’s win over Portland due to back spasms, and he certainly didn’t look 100 percent in this one.
No matter, the entire rest of the team picked up his slack.
Up next for the Timberwolves…
The Wolves stay at home to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder for the second time in five days on Wednesday night as they look to sweep another season series against a Northwest Division foe.