Did the Minnesota Timberwolves win last night?

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves News Timberwolves Game Takeaways Mike Conley Jr.
Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

3 Timberwolves game takeaways

The best course of action when facing a highly-talented and highly-motivated team like the Golden State Warriors is obviously to lead off the game with your best scorers and try to get the early lead. Well, that is exactly what the Minnesota Timberwolves did not do. After all, the key to winning against a championship fight is to hit them where they ain’t. What do I mean?

Timberwolves Game Takeaways III: Timberwolves relied on an early Conley rally

Instead, the Timberwolves rode the hot hand of long-range marksman Mike Conley Jr. In the first seven minutes of the game, Conley hit on four of four from beyond the arc, scoring 12 of the Timberwolves’ first 19 points.  Not only was the strategy very clever, but it set the stage for the Timberwolves throughout the entire contest

Conley has been a huge ‘get,’ for the Timberwolves roster. While he has averaged fewer points than former PG D’Angelo Russell, he more than makes up for that with his on-court leadership and his ability to activate his teammates throughout a game. By becoming an early-scoring threat, Conley was able to draw defensive attention to himself, freeing up his teammates to score later in the game.

Timberwolves Game Takeaways II: Defense was jaw-droppingly good

The Minnesota Timberwolves shut down the Golden State Warriors’ offense. That’s right. We have not had much occasion to tout the Timberwolves’ defense, but this was a Herculean effort on everyone’s part. The Timberwolves outshot the Warriors from the floor, outrebounded the Warriors on the boards, out-thieved the Warriors on steals, and scored more points in the paint and more points on fast breaks.

But the coup de grace was the fact that the Timberwolves outshot the Golden State Warriors from three-point range. That has been a burr in the Timberwolves’ saddle all season, and there is no way to deny that the team played their hearts out in this one. Let’s be clear. Not only did the Timberwolves score more three-point shots, but the team attempted as many perimeter shots as the Warriors. That’s a huge sign of progress.

Timberwolves Game Takeaways I: Karl-Anthony Towns with 2nd game-winner

Like him or not, if you cheer for the Minnesota Timberwolves you really want the basketball in the hands of Karl-Anthony Towns with just seconds to go and the game on the line. Towns is a passionate and enthusiastic playmaker for the Timberwolves team. He is so good, so skilled, that past iterations of the Timberwolves have counted on Towns to do it all simply because he can.

Now, with rim protection handled by teammate Rudy Gobert, Towns can focus on the aspects of the game that he loves and that in turn is unlocking his love of the game once more. Perhaps the last 2:00 of this game illustrates that point.

After point forward, Kyle Anderson hauled in a defensive rebound with just 2:01 to go in the game, and the Timberwolves trailing by two points, the basketball found its way to Karl Anthony Towns via Anthony Edwards (assist), who drained a huge 28-foot three-pointer to put the Timberwolves up by a score of 94-93.  Golden State Warriors SG Jordan Poole, their top scorer, responded with a three-pointer of his own, retaking the lead by a score of 96-94.

But Rudy Gobert was sent to the free throw line and sank one of two to bring the Timberwolves to within one point with just 27 seconds remaining. On their next possession Warriors’ Draymond Green attempted a pass that was intercepted by Kyle Anderson. With just 11.0 on the game clock, Towns’ artillery blasted once more, this time sinking a 27-footer. The Timberwolves defense forced another turnover, and with possession, the Warriors were forced to commit a foul. Jaden McDaniels hit one of two free throws, and that was the game.

99. 86. 96. 41. Final

The victory catapults the Minnesota Timberwolves (38-37) to the seventh seed in the NBA Western Conference, and to second place in the NBA Northwest Division. With seven games remaining, the Timberwolves can do no better than 45-37, and now no worse than 38-44.

The Golden State Warriors (39-37) are the sixth seed in the NBA Western Conference, just one-half game ahead of the Timberwolves.

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The next contest for the Minnesota Timberwolves will be on the road to face the Sacramento Kings (45-29), a team that is securely anchored as the third seed in the NBA Western Conference. Tipoff is Monday, March 27, at 9:00 pm CT.