Timberwolves Wrap: Wolves can’t grab four straight

 The Timberwolves couldn’t hang with the Mavericks’ smaller line up as they fell by a final score of 98-87 on Sunday afternoon.

The Timberwolves went into this game on a three-game winning streak during which they beat the Mavericks, the Rockets, and the Thunder. Wolves fans were hopefully for four in a row today in Dallas, but Tom Thibodeau’s squad failed to beat the Mavericks in the matinee.

Going into this game, it seemed like a good opportunity for Karl Anthony-Towns to go on a scoring run. The Wolves started their usual two big men in Towns and Gorgui Dieng, while the Mavericks’ Andrew Bogut was out with an injury, pushing Dirk Nowitzki to the center position and Harrison Barnes to the four-spot.

For whatever reason, when Towns got the ball in the post, he couldn’t get to the basket on Barnes. Gorgui Dieng, on the other hand, was able to take care of business on offense as he finished with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting.

The biggest problem in this game was the bench. When the backup unit was on the floor, nothing was happening. Nemanja Bjelica was the only player on the bench that scored. If you don’t count Bjelica, the bench shot 0-of-12 from the field. Shabazz Muhammad struggled the most, shooting just 0-for-6.

Deron Williams had a double-double for the Mavs with 13 points and 10 assists. J.J. Barea had a good game, scoring 15 points on 5-of-5 from the field in 16 minutes of play. Wesley Matthews, Dirk, and Harrison Barnes also posed a constant offensive threat.

For most of the game, it seemed like the Wolves should have been winning, even if the scoreboard didn’t show it.

A big problem the Wolves had on Sunday afternoon was Rubio on offense. Rubio was almost no threat to score, so it seemed as though the Mavs were playing five-on-four when the Wolves had the ball.

The Timberwolves couldn’t really get into a steady offensive groove and were forced to put up a lot of low percentage shots. The Mavs played good defense, rejecting eight shots in the process.

Overall, there were a lot of problems the Wolves had tonight and they were lucky that the Mavericks aren’t very good as Minnesota kept the game close.

Tweet of the Night

Star of the Night

Gorgui Dieng: 21 points (10-12 FG, 0-1 3P, 1-3 FT), 8 rebounds, one steal, zero turnovers

Dieng did exactly what the posts for the Wolves should have done this time out: he took advantage of the size mismatch. He only missed two shots the whole game and was the consistent offensive contributor that the Wolves needed.

While Wiggins and Towns had good games, Dieng was the star of the game as he scored when it counted. If the offense slowed down, he would score and get the team rolling again.

Notable Timberwolves Lines

  • Karl Anthony-Towns: 18 points (8-17 FG, 1-4 3P, 1-2 FT), 9 rebounds, 3 assists, one steal, one block, 3 turnovers
  • Andrew Wiggins: 19 points (8-15 FG, 1-3 3P, 2-2 FT), 8 rebounds, 4 assists, one steal, 2 turnovers
  • Ricky Rubio: 8 points (2-9 FG, 0-2 3P, 4-6 FT), 10 assists, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 4 turnovers

There are likely some folks saying that Brandon Rush should have stayed in the starting lineup over Zach LaVine in what was the two-time dunk champ’s return to the lineup after missing the past two contests. Not sure if that makes a ton of sense, but maybe Rush should have been given more than just three minutes in Dallas.

Wiggins had himself a good game but it just wasn’t enough to get a win. Also, the bench needs to work some things out. They were an absolute liability, and coming off of an impressive performance on Friday night it was even more disappointing.

Who’s Up Next?

The Wolves will stay in Texas and play the Spurs in San Antonio on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. Central Time. This will be a tough road game, but the Wolves seem to always play well against the Spurs, so it should be a fun one.

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