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Monday, January 24, 2022

For Timberwolves, D’Angelo Russell’s return isn’t coming too soon

D’Angelo Russell returned to the Timberwolves starting lineup on Monday in Memphis after missing straight games with a sprained right ankle.

His absence was … noticed.

Russell was injured in the first half of Minnesota’s defeat to Orlando last week. In 10 quarters he missed, Minnesota lost by 54 points. The offense was mostly hard and Minnesota as a whole looked lost as a team.

After Minnesota’s defeat to the Clippers on Saturday – the Wolves’ fourth consecutive defeat – Anthony Edwards seems to be blaming most of the team’s problems on the lack of a starting point guard and has been looking forward to Russell’s return.

“There’ll be more better shooters, can’t double (Karl-Anthony Towns) that many,” Edwards said. “If they do it, D-Lo will surely get them out of it. We don’t have a starting guard, bro, so I don’t know.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said Russell’s return is “a big hit” for Minnesota.

“We need to play more, shoot more,” Finch said. “Obviously a starter for us. … He was injured in that game with Orlando, and before that he had his best game of the season. He was starting to find his rhythm, I thought he was playing with a lot more lightning. ”

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Actually, Russell’s best game this season was in Milwaukee, not against Denver. In truth, the point guard struggled with himself for most of the season before the injury. In six games, Russell averaged less than 15 points per game on 37 percent shots, and turned over the ball more than three times in a competition.

However, last week the Wolves learned that they were much better off with him than without him.

“We need everything. We need everything from 1 to 15. We need everything, ”Edwards said. “When we have everything, we are fine.”

What has Minnesota missed the most with Russell’s absence on set?

“Probably just a game, a shot, an early target for our attack,” Finch said. “Particularly good at playing at a tempo. And the ability to take the big shot when you need it. He has a tendency to throw hard. And while we want to stay away from tricky punches as much as he can, he knows how to do them. ”

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