Kyle Anderson showing he is crucial to Timberwolves’ success

Kyle Anderson, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Kyle Anderson, Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Last summer, Kyle Anderson signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an unrestricted free agent. At the time, his addition was viewed as a decent signing, but nothing really resembling a game-changer. Now, the narrative has shifted around Slo-Mo in a big way.

With the playoffs approaching, Kyle Anderson is putting the finishing touches on a season-long showcase of his unique skill and underrated ability to elevate a team. With the Timberwolves dealing with a plethora of injuries in 2022-23, there was no better time for Anderson to step up.

In what can be best described as an encapsulation of what he has been doing for Minnesota all year long, Kyle Anderson put up another classic performance on Monday night to help lead the Wolves over the New York Knicks in one of their biggest, gutsiest wins of the entire season.

Kyle Anderson’s defense helped seal the win over the Knicks.

Without Anthony Edwards, Minnesota was going into Madison Square Garden on Monday down their two best players, with Karl-Anthony Towns still sidelined as well. Taurean Prince took Ant’s place in the starting lineup and nailed a career-high eight threes, which was a huge boost for the Timberwolves.

But the more unsung performance of the night was Kyle Anderson’s high-IQ defensive effort in the fourth quarter. Heading into the fourth, the Knicks’ Julius Randle had an incredible 52 points, having scored 26 in the third quarter alone. In the final frame, Anderson played a part in shutting Randle down completely, limiting him to just two made shots, a turnover and two fouls.

With less than a minute remaining in the game and the Knicks with the ball down just two possessions, Slo-Mo made a veteran play knocking the ball loose from Immanuel Quickley’s hands on a drive to the basket. The play was initially called a foul but reversed after a successful challenge from Head Coach Chris Finch.

The veteran play of Kyle Anderson will continue to be paramount to Minnesota’s success.

In the closing seconds of the win with the Wolves up just three, Jaden McDaniels tried to ice the game with a bold stepback midrange jumper that fell just short. As Randle looked to collect the defensive rebound, Kyle Anderson swooped in at the last second to grab the board. The extra possession led to Taurean Prince’s game-sealing layup with 10 seconds remaining.

Anderson finished the game with 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists and a steal. It was another classic Slo-Mo game where his presence contributed far more to winning than the numbers might initially indicate. His measured, methodical pace helped Minnesota hold their lead down the stretch and emerge victorious against a team that had won 12 of their last 15.

In a game where outsiders might have assumed the Timberwolves would be doomed without the star power of Anthony Edwards, Kyle Anderson showed once again that he is far more than just a cog in Minnesota’s machine. After building a 17-point lead, he helped the group hold together when they were inching toward another collapse. Anderson’s play will continue to be vital as the Wolves fight for their spot in the playoffs.

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