Player grades from Timberwolves’ home win over Mavericks

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince celebrates a three-point basket against the Dallas Mavericks. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince celebrates a three-point basket against the Dallas Mavericks. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves used a balanced attack and strong defense to emerge victorious over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.

Timberwolves tie season series with impressive win over the Dallas Mavericks

The Timberwolves put forth an impressive defensive performance with a balanced offensive attack to beat the Dallas Mavericks, tying the all-important season series and pulling a half-game closer to the coveted No. 6 spot in the Western Conference in the process.

Minnesota led for nearly the entire contest. It started with another hot start from Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored 13 of his 20 points in the opening frame. The Wolves led by 11 at halftime and ultimately pulled away after halftime, holding Dallas to just 17 points in the third quarter while overcoming more foul trouble for Towns.

The Timberwolves poured it on early in the fourth quarter, effectively putting the game away before the midway point of the period.

The Wolves didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from deep; the 11-for-32 (34.4 percent) looks much better than it actually was, as garbage time makes from the likes of Jordan McLaughlin, Josh Okogie, and Jake Layman helped boost the total number.

This was a solid win, and the Wolves are again just a half-game behind the Denver Nuggets for the No. 6 spot following the Nuggets’ loss to Phoenix on Thursday night. The Mavericks remain in fifth, two-and-a-half games in front of the Wolves.

Player grades from Timberwolves’ home win over Mavericks

Let’s hand out a few player grades from the Wolves’ win.

Karl-Anthony Towns: B+

20 points (7-10 FG, 2-4 3P, 4-4 FT), 9 rebounds, one assist, one steal

Towns dominated the early proceedings and, in a familiar turn of events, was really only limited by foul trouble.

Towns was asked to be aggressive in the Wolves’ high wall defense and was solid on the perimeter in helping to contain Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, and Spencer Dinwiddie. Offensively, Towns scored in a variety of ways and grabbed a ton of contested rebounds while the Mavs’ put their entire focus on slowing down the Wolves’ superstar.

D’Angelo Russell: B

16 points (6-16 FG, 1-6 3P, 2-3 FT), 8 assists, 5 rebounds

Russell started off struggling from the field but was again on-point with his passing game. He was also decent enough defensively at the point of attack and played an important role on the boards from the backcourt.

Russell continues to control the pace of each game with adeptness, and even though the shooting and scoring numbers aren’t all that impressive, he certainly had a valuable impact on the game.

Jordan McLaughlin: A

16 points (6-8 FG, 3-5 3P, 1-2 FT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists

McLaughlin had another strong game off the bench. He saw his minutes increase slightly due to Malik Beasley’s shortened evening (Beasley left in the second quarter with a sprained ankle), and he did not disappoint.

As always, J-Mac was great defensively, and for good measure, he shot the ball much better than he typically does.

Taurean Prince: A

14 points (5-7 FG, 2-4 3P, 2-2 FT), 5 rebounds, one assist

Prince is another player who saw increased playing time after Beasley left the floor. The veteran forward continued his impressive play of late as well, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in the second half and providing typically active defense.

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Next up for the Timberwolves

The Wolves have Saturday off before heading to Boston to take on the Celtics in a 5 p.m. CT tip-off on Sunday.