If you were fretting over the Minnesota Timberwolves (35-37) facing the playoff-bound New York Knicks (42-30) on the road without either PF/C Karl-Anthony Towns or SG Anthony Edwards, you were not alone. After all, the Timberwolves have been tumbling again, swirling in another three-game losing streak whirlpool, a pattern that has often followed the team’s promising winning streak.
But this time it felt different, in a very dark and dismal way. The Minnesota Timberwolves were traveling to play at Madison Square Garden, reeling on a three-game losing streak, and facing a red-hot New York Knicks who were riding the wave of a three-game winning streak. Worst of all, the Timberwolves had to do it without their top two stars.
Karl-Anthony Towns is almost a forgotten player now. His 21 games played pale in comparison to the 51 games that he has not suited up for. And there is no realistic hope that he will show up for more than a cameo appearance before the 2022-23 NBA season ends. Will that even be enough to knock off the rust if the Minnesota Timberwolves earn a playoff berth? I have growing doubts.
Anthony Edwards misses his first game of the season
The biggest concern for the Minnesota Timberwolves was the high ankle sprain to All-Star shooting guard Anthony Edwards. Edwards had already missed the game against the Toronto Raptors, and that game did not end well for the Timberwolves. As it turned out, the concern was founded as Edwards was ruled as questionable before the game:
The news got worse at game time when the Timberwolves would face the Knicks without Towns, or Edwards. But no Knicks players were injured as their team played this game at full strength. That set the stage for the Knicks to be heavily favored over the Timberwolves. Ah, but nobody told the Timberwolves that.
Prince rules Madison Square Garden
The hometown Knicks fans had quite a show by power forward Julius Randle, who scored a phenomenal 59 points while adding four rebounds and one assist in this one. He may have won the battle, but he lost the war, as the Timberwolves showed incredible grit and teamwork in knocking the Knicks around at Madison Square Garden.
Timberwolves Game Takeaways I: The game’s star was the Minnesota Timberwolves own power forward Taurean Prince, whose 12 of 13 from the court and perfect eight of eight from long range led the team in scoring with 35 points. That was an incredible display of offense from Prince, a player who enjoyed just his third start of the 2022-23 NBA season. But he was not the only hero for the Timberwolves.
Timberwolves Game Takeaways II: Timberwolves’ new point guard Mike Conley showed why he is so valuable to this roster, scoring 24 points and dishing out 11 assists for a critical double-double for the Timberwolves. This was Conley’s fourth 20+ scoring effort, and his first double-double since joining the Timberwolves. In fact, Conley has scored 64 points and handed out 20 assists in his last three games. Conley is becoming the field general that this Timberwolves team has been looking for all season.
Timberwolves Game Takeaways III: Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert is playing his heart out right now. Since adding his former Utah Jazz teammate PG Mike Conley, Gobert has been as good as advertised. His scoring has jumped by more than four points per game on average, and his rebounding has improved by two per game. While he only had seven rebounds in this contest, he scored 16 points, and recorded a block, an assist, and a steal, with no turnovers.
The win keeps the Timberwolves clinging to faint NBA Playoff hopes, not locked in a three-way tie with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Utah Jazz. The Minnesota Timberwolves (36-37) next host the Atlanta Hawks (35-36) at Target Center on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at 7:00 pm CT. The team then begins a grueling three-game road trip through California and Arizona before returning home to host the LA Lakers on March 31, 2023.
The Timberwolves have just nine more games on their 2022-23 NBA schedule. It’s no exaggeration to say that the team needs to win as many games as possible to have a chance of earning an NBA Playoff berth.