Not even Anthony Edwards can stop Wolves from wilting in Atlanta

Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Minnesota Timberwolves scored 42 points in the first quarter to open the game against the Atlanta Hawks. Then, the team piled on another 37 points to enter halftime with a sizeable 79-60 lead.  But even as hopes for the Timberwolves offense to come alive, the opposite was about to happen.

The Wolves would not score more than 34 points in the entire second half. And the Minnesota Timberwolves defense,  the second-best defense in the NBA, would absolutely fall to pieces in the second half.

To sum it up, the Atlanta Hawks, coming off the second game of back-to-backs, outscored the Timberwolves by a factor of two to one to claim their second win of the season. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ scoring in the second have can be summed up as follows:

Third Quarter

Rudy Gobert – 6 points
Jaden McDaniels – 2 points
Mike Conley Jr. – 3 points
Anthony Edwards – 5 points
Nickeil Alexander-Walker – 3 points

Fourth Quarter

Josh Minott –  2 points
Jaden McDaniels – 2 points
Luka Garza – 2 points
Anthony Edwards – 6 points
Karl-Anthony Towns – 3 points

The sudden and utter collapse of the Minnesota Timberwolves was as ugly as it sounds. The team that seemed to be doing everything the right way in the first half of this game lost their way and did absolutely everything the wrong way in the second half of this one. Only Anthony Edwards, who had 20 points in the first half of this game, continued to score as he added 11 points in the second half.  Only Rudy Gobert, who scored eight points in the first half, was consistent as he scored six points in the second half.

Karl-Anthony Towns, who appeared to finally find his groove early, completely disappeared in this one.  Despite his second Double-Double of the season, KAT is making it awfully difficult to rebuke the ever-increasing number of NBA Trade scenarios that ship him off to some other team. Unless he reclaims his pre-2022-23 form, he will make it hard for the Timberwolves front office not to listen to offers at the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline.

This was a hard loss to take. The Timberwolves dominated in the first half against an Atlanta Hawks team playing their second game of back-to-backs. And yet it was the Timberwolves who appeared to be fatigued, listless, disinterested, and completely lacking any iota of competitive focus in the second half of a very winnable game.

113. 86. 127. 125. Final

If the Minnesota Timberwolves are not able to break this heartbreaking pattern, the 2023-24 NBA season will prove to be a very long one indeed.

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