The Minnesota Timberwolves needed a win, and for all intents and purposes, it appeared as though Target Center’s visiting NBA team, the Washington Wizards, were more than happy to give it to them. The Timberwolves started their last game before the NBA All-Star break red-hot, as the team jumped out to an early lead, at one point in the first quarter by a score of 30-10. The TImberwolves’ leading scorer, Anthony Edwards, needed just six minutes to put 16 points on the scoreboard. It just felt like this was going to be a slam-dunk victory for the Timberwolves.
By halftime, the Timberwolves’ lead had shrunk from a game-high of 20 points to a more precarious eight points. This was one of those nights where the Minnesota Timberwolves offered little in the way of support for the team. The Timberwolves bench was cold at the perimeter, scoring just twice in ten shots for 20 percent, cold from the floor, hitting on just eight of 25 shots for a paltry 32 percent scoring rate, and struggling to get and keep a handle on the basketball, allowing seven of the team’s 16 turnovers, while delivering just one steal, one block, and just 14 rebounds.
The ‘won’ that got away
This was a game that the Timberwolves needed to win, and looked to do so with an 11-point lead as late as the fourth quarter, and a six-point lead with under four minutes to go. But Wizard’s Bradley Beal got hot, scoring 10 points in under three minutes, and the Timberwolves’ offense went silent. The Wizards scored the final 12 points in the game, and the Timberwolves dropped a game that was in their pocket almost the entire night.
The Timberwolves stars showed up, as Rudy Gobert popped another double-double with 17 points and 19 rebounds. Anthony Edwards scored 34 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals, and even a block. Kyle Anderson put up 18 points and dished out eight assists. Even Jaden McDaniels scored 15 points and hauled in eight rebounds.
Both point guards for the evening, Mike Conley Jr. and Jordan McLaughlin were absolutely ineffective on offense. While Conley continued to feed the ball to Gobert, he failed to score at all. And McLaughlin was no better off the bench. Combined, the pair was 0 for 9 from the floor and neither shot a single foul shot on the evening.
This was the game that was supposed to launch the Minnesota Timberwolves into the NBA All-Star Break with momentum. Instead, the Wizards managed to snatch the victory and leave the Timberwolves guessing over what must the team do going forward to string some wins together.