The Minnesota Timberwolves earned one of the biggest wins of their season Saturday night, coming back from 14 points down to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers at Target Center. The victory completed Minnesota’s season sweep of the 27-17 Cavs, and got back them into the top six in the Western Conference standings.
It was a complete team effort from the Timberwolves that featured a masterful second-half defensive performance against a dangerous Cavaliers offense. With Rudy Gobert in the locker room with a groin injury, the rest of the Wolves fed off their home crowd’s energy and dominated Cleveland down the stretch.
Anthony Edwards led the way for Minnesota once again, scoring 26 points on 10-for-18 shooting. But as big as his performance was, arguably the most crucial factor in the Timberwolves taking home the win was an adjustment made by Chris Finch in the fourth quarter.
Chris Finch made an adjustment to help the Wolves retain their lead
To start the fourth quarter of play, Jaylen Nowell was on the floor to give D’Angelo Russell a breather until later in the final frame. With around five minutes remaining in the game, Chris Finch had Russell at the scorer’s table ready to check in.
But an offensive eruption from Jaylen Nowell forced Finch to have second thoughts about putting Russell back in. In the end, the Timberwolves’ head coach opted to have D-Lo remain on the bench while keeping Nowell in the game, which ended up being the difference in the contest.
Jaylen Nowell scored eight of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, none of which were bigger than his and-one that extended Minnesota’s lead to 12 points with 4:40 remaining. His scoring mentality and timely shot-making were absolutely vital to helping the Timberwolves hold onto their lead on the second night of a back-to-back.
As much as Jaylen Nowell may have frustrated some Timberwolves fans this season, his prowess as a scorer comes in extremely handy in situations like Saturday night. Chris Finch’s decision to keep D’Angelo Russell on the bench turned out to be exactly what the team needed.