The Minnesota Timberwolves went into Tuesday night's contest against the Orlando Magic looking to rebound after falling apart late against the Mavericks in their previous game. The Wolves have only had one losing streak this season (of two games), and have been good about rebounding from bad games.
Tuesday was no exception as the Wolves put on an absolute clinic against a young, upstart Magic team, holding them to under 100 points in the shellacking.
1. Wolves' 34 assists as a team lead to fluid offense
As much as the Timberwolves have been a top defensive team this season, the offense has been stagnant at times and reliant on individual playmaking far too often. However, Tuesday's showing was a very promising look into what the offense could be like when the ball is moving, as the Timberwolves' 34 assists far outpaced the Magic's 20.
Whether it was a perfect lob to Gobert, an extra pass to an open man on the three-point line, or the perfect screen being set, the Wolves' offense was firing on all cylinders. In a game where superstar Anthony Edwards was held to only six points, the Wolves still found a way to dominate a playoff-bound team in the East.
2. Karl-Anthony Towns is an All-Star
Simply put, KAT is having a monster year for the Timberwolves. While his points per game average is not as high as some of his other All-Star years, he shares the load with a few more high-scoring co-stars than he has for most of his career.
This season, Anthony-Towns is averaging 21.5 PPG, 9 RPG, and 2.9 APG, but the thing that is really making him stand out is how efficiently he is obtaining these numbers. KAT is shooting 50.4% from the field, a blistering 39.4% from 3, and 89.4% from the charity stripe this season.
So in other words, he's extremely close to being a 50-40-90 player. Against the Magic, KAT showcased how his season has been in a nutshell, with 28 points on 100% 3-point shooting and 57.9% shooting from the field. If KAT keeps playing this efficiently paired with Ant's superstar shot-making and Gobert's elite defense, the Timberwolves will be a big problem come playoff time.
3. Bench unit could look to add scorer at the trade deadline
While the Timberwolves have been dominating as a team this season, the bench unit has not produced offensively the way many hoped at the beginning of the season. While Kyle Anderson had a decent game off the bench against the Magic, most of the scoring this season has come from Naz Reid and no one else.
The bench has averaged 33.3 PPG this season, which is only good for 18th in the NBA. The expectation was that Kyle Anderson and Shake Milton specifically would be more of an offensive threat this season, but that has not quite panned out as both are averaging less than seven points per game, and Milton is out of the rotation entirely at this point.
When the trade deadline comes, the Wolves should be looking to pick up an experienced bucket-getter to add to their bench and keep the Wolves afloat when the starters need a rest. Some names that come to mind would be Jordan Clarkson, Alec Burks, and Malcolm Brogdon.
The Timberwolves head to Boston Wednesday to take on the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics, with Minnesota 1-0 in the series this season.