On Wednesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves did something that teams haven’t been able to do for the last three or four years, really. They may not be the best team in the league, as far as we know at this very moment, but they are a great defensive team, and we saw that on Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets.
The Timberwolves were able to play more than impressive defense on the Nuggets, and this time, after being up big at the half, they didn’t waiver and actually pulled out the win. The way they did it: making things extremely hard on Nikola Jokic.
Did the Timberwolves lock him up? Of course not, as that is nearly impossible. He still had a decent game, but it wasn’t easy by any means; whether it was Rudy Gobert on him or Karl Anthony Towns, Jokic was getting gassed.
“Yeah, he [KAT] did a really good job of putting his body on him and, you know, forcing him to back him down and use a lot of energy,” Chris Finch said after the win over the Denver Nuggets. “We know that they’re going to play through him at all levels. “You know, the foul line, the three-point line, and in the post. So, and he’s so, so skilled down there, and, you know, he slows the game down and just got to fight him enough that you can bring help when you need to.”
The Timberwolves have given Jokic the most problems so far this season, and obviously, it affected their overall play too, as they not only lost, but they lost by a lot. There are plenty of teams in the league that have bigs similar to Jokic or even have different play styles, but they will be tough to guard.
The Timberwolves will have to play Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and guys like Anthony Davis. This worked on Jokicc and is worth trying on those guys, too, in terms of switching the two Minnesota Bigs on those guys to just try and tire them out.
Now, let’s see if the Wolves can stack this win on top of some more and start showing the league just how good they really are.