The Minnesota Timberwolves lost center Rudy Gobert against the Cleveland Cavaliers after he suffered a groin injury just 13 minutes into the game. It was the second game of back-to-backs, a scenario that the Timberwolves have struggled with all season. The Cleveland Cavaliers (27-17) were favored over the Minnesota Timberwolves (22-22) before Gobert was injured.
The Timberwolves are one of the worst NBA teams at defending the perimeter. Well, apparently, the young bigs on the Timberwolves roster never got the memo. Fueled by young guns off the bench, this Timberwolves roster had Target center rocking and rolling.
So who stepped up? In a word, everyone. The Timberwolves bench blew away that of the Cleveland Cavaliers, with two players scoring double digits, and four of five players ending this one with a (+/-) very much in the + realm.
Despite the Timberwolves losing the battle of the boards, as the Cavaliers outrebounded the homecourt Timberwolves by a tally of 40 to 31, the Timberwolves played one of their best and most energetic games of the entire season. Timberwolves’ young shooting guard Anthony Edwards led all scorers in this one with 26 points. But even as he scored, he was keen on getting his teammates involved. He pulled down six rebounds and dished out seven assists.
Luka Garza continues to impress
But through it all, my eyes kept catching glimpses of what a spectacular NBA future awaits the Timberwolves’ young center, Luka Garza. How so? In ten minutes, he put up nine points, including shooting one of two from the perimeter, hauled in two rebounds, dished out one assist, and pretty much laid the smackdown on Cavaliers power forward Evan Mobley.
The Timberwolves truly needed this. Not only was this a win, but this was a great energetic, and collaborative win. In the end, the Timberwolves entered the fourth quarter down by three, and historically have failed to find a way to rally back. It was Luka Garza who opened the quarter with the first five points scored, getting the lead back for the Timberwolves.
From that point, his teammates rallied. Austin Rivers scored. Then Jaylen Nowell got in on the action. Next, it was Jaden McDaniels putting up points. Even Naz Reid got into the act. When the smoke cleared, the Timberwolves had outscored the Cavaliers by a score of 33-22 in that final quarter.
Suddenly, the Minnesota Timberwolves had fought their way back to .500, and are now firmly entrenched in the NBA Playoff hunt, however temporarily this may be, once more.