The Minnesota Timberwolves emerged victorious from another game against a depleted non-playoff team, this time on the strength of a 3-point shooting barrage.
Malik Beasley sets record in Timberwolves’ blowout win over Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder came to Target Center on Wednesday on the second night of a back-to-back and suffering through a lengthy injury list.
The Wolves were off Tuesday, and would ultimately have their three best players dressed and in the starting lineup, despite the fact that both Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell were listed as questionable leading into the game after missing Monday’s win over Portland.
Minnesota rested Patrick Beverley and Jarred Vanderbilt, who had also been listed as questionable, figuring they could still score a relatively easy win against a shorthanded team with a 20-45 record.
And that’s exactly what happened.
The Wolves jumped in front midway through the first quarter and never looked back. Malik Beasley knocked down six 3-pointers in the first frame, scoring 18 points in a hurry.
As has been par for the course over the last week or so, the Wolves distanced themselves from their competition in the second quarter as the bench unit did their thing, and the lead ballooned to 74-47 at halftime.
Beasley’s hot shooting continued in the second half, and he was joined by solid offensive performances from Karl-Anthony Towns and Taurean Prince.
Anthony Edwards was up-and-down in his return from a four-game absence, with a pair of impressive steals and dunks but some clunky play in the half-court.
The Wolves treated much of the fourth quarter as garbage time and ultimately won by 30 (or more) points for the third time in the past four games.
Player grades from Timberwolves’ home win over Thunder
Let’s hand out a few player grades from Wolves vs. Thunder.
Malik Beasley: A+
33 points (11-17 FG, 11-17 3P), 5 rebounds, one assist
I mean … what more do you say? Beasley made six threes in the first quarter and a franchise-record 11 on the night. His final splash was an off-the-dribble bomb that sent Target Center — and the Wolves bench — into a frenzy.
It’s so good to see Beasley’s confidence come roaring back. This is much more in line with the Malik Beasley that the Wolves signed to a contract extension prior to the 2020-21 season.
Karl-Anthony Towns: B+
13 points (4-5 FG, 0-0 3P, 5-6 FT), 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks, 5 turnovers.
Towns was great in his limited minutes. His work on the glass was most notable, but he was also fantastic defensively, anchoring the paint for the Wolves.
The passing was a bit sloppy, as Towns was back in the post with more frequency and the Thunder brought double-teams that were at least minimally effective. Outside of the turnovers, however, this was a nice “light work” night for KAT.
This was the first game all season in which Towns has played and not recorded a 3-point attempt. He’s only attempted just a single long-range attempt in a game twice, and one of those instances was against Portland on Monday night.
Taurean Prince: A
17 points (5-10 FG, 2-5 3P, 5-8 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 steals
Prince was again a steadying force off the bench, scoring 17 points on just 10 shots. He also grabbed five rebounds and two steals in only 23 minutes.
Having a solid, switchable defender who can knock down open threes and put the ball on the floor in a pinch is a luxury that past Timberwolves teams simply have not enjoyed.
Next up for the Timberwolves
The Wolves head out on the road to take on the Orlando Magic on Friday night before heading further south to see the Miami Heat on Saturday.