Wolves held their own during Towns’ suspension
Towns was suspended following an on-court scuffle with Joel Embiid during the Wolves’ loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last Wednesday.
Andrew Wiggins paced the group in scoring in KAT’s absence. Wiggins led the Wolves with 21 points in their 131-109 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday, then had a team-high 25 points in a 134-106 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
He wasn’t spectacular from the field, shooting 45.9%, but led the Wolves in 3-point makes, going 8-for-16 from deep. Robert Covington was the Wolves’ most effective shooter with an 82.5 true shooting percentage, going 6-for-11 on 3s.
The Wolves’ attempted 82 3s in those two games, second in the NBA over that span to the Houston Rockets. However, they struggled from the floor against the Bucks after shooting 54.3% against the Wizards.
Minnesota shot just 35.9% against Milwaukee; Covington was the only member of the Wolves to shoot better than 50%, going 5-for-9, while Wiggins went 10-for-21 (47.6%) with four 3s.
Gorgui Dieng filled in admirably at center, his first major action of the season. He scored 18 points in 23 minutes against the Wizards with eight rebounds, going 7-for-9 from the field.
Rookie Jarrett Culver stepped up, posting a career-high 20 points with five rebounds after scoring just 12 points in his first four games combined.
The Wolves dominated in the paint against Washington, outscoring the Wizards 56-24 and had a 16-8 edge in transition. They had no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo, however.
The Bucks star and reigning MVP went off for 34 points and powered the Bucks to a 62-38 advantage in the paint. Milwaukee outrebounded Minnesota 57-47, led by Antetokounmpo with 15 boards.
The Wolves hung with the Bucks until the third quarter. Minnesota entered the second half trailing by seven, but the Bucks went off in the third, outscoring the Wolves 38-25, including a 22-6 run.
Dieng finished with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists, going 3-for-9 from the field.
Towns is eligible to return Wednesday, when the Wolves head to Memphis for their first Western Conference matchup of the season, before returning home to host Golden State and Denver.
They’re hoping Towns can pick up where he left off before scoring 13 points in 22 minutes during that loss to the 76ers.
He powered the Wolves to three straight wins to start the season, averaging 32.0 points, 13.3 rebounds, 5.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.0 blocks per game with a 64.8 effective field-goal percentage en route to Western Conference player of the week honors.