When you’re hot, you’re hot
Let’s dive into the good stuff. Fortunately, we don’t have to travel back in time to the distant past to point to one of those ‘wow,’ performances. The Minnesota Timberwolves (23-24) were on the brink of losing their third straight game, this time to the ho-hum Toronto Raptors (20-26), in a game in which the Timberwolves never seemed to be in a position to claim the victory.
In fact, the Timberwolves trailed by eight points entering the fourth quarter, and with 9:46 remaining, had extended the lead to 14 points. And then, D’Angelo Russell took over. He scored the next 14 points for the Minnesota Timberwolves, including a long-range artillery salvo of four straight three-pointers, that pulled the team to within five points.
Leader of the Wolfpack
From there, teammates shooting guard Anthony Edwards and point forward Kyle Anderson found the range to tie the score with 1:09 remaining. But the game would fall back to the hot-handed D’Angelo Russell, who was fouled and sent to the free-throw line with little more than nine seconds to go. He scored on both shots, the final points scored in the game, and the Timberwolves would hold on to win a nail-biter.
It was not the first time that D’Lo led a late rally for the Timberwolves to come back and win a game, nor is it expected to be the last time. But rather than celebrate those moments, isn’t that what a guy who is being paid $31 million to play basketball is supposed to bring to the court in each and every game? As the highest-paid healthy player, the bar is such that he should be leading this team in every game just like that. But he does not, as we will soon discover.