No, the Timberwolves fired poorly from the field on Monday in New Orleans. And no, they didn’t let the humble pelicans hang out about it.
More impressive than Minnesota’s convincing 110: 96 win over New Orleans – a fourth straight win in double digits – was how she came in.
This came from protection, which was a staple for these wolves at the start of the season. This happened because of the turnover. This was due to second chance points thanks to the team’s newfound commitment to attacking glass.
This was due to all the little things that good teams do at night when shots don’t fall. So it was in Minnesota (8-9) on the road on Monday. The team fired just 40 percent from the field and 23 percent from depth. D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards together have scored just 4 of 21 from the field, with 14 points in the first three quarters.
This did little to slow Wolves’ recent success. Minnesota was leading with 20 points in three quarters.
The Wolves scored 28 points on 23 forcing passes, 26 points on 21 offensive rebounds and held New Orleans up to 6 of 32 three-point shots.
All five starting wolves scored double-digit numbers.
This is not to say that Minnesota’s recent streak against less-stellar opponents proves that the Timberwolves are a good team. But they proved that they are at least one step above the bad ones.
San Antonio, Sacramento and New Orleans (3-16) are clearly not in the same class as Minnesota. Leading up to this four-game game against strong opponents, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said it was an opportunity for Minnesota to win matches and solidify its position in the Western Conference standings.
The wolves dealt with each of their last four opponents relatively easily. They did it by controlling their last three games from start to finish, something that even the best teams in the league face.
Karl-Anthony Towns gave Minnesota a strong start on Monday. New Orleans shut down the star bigman’s single, and he made the Pelicans pay. Townes had eight points before you could blink in the first quarter and finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds on 10 on 21 hits.
The next step for the Wolves is to see if they can punch above their intended weight class. They will face off against the heavyweight at Target Center on Wednesday when the Miami Heat under Jimmy Butler arrives at Target Center for a basketball feast ahead of Thanksgiving.