Wolves’ supporting cast seeks upset vs. Bucks
Several members of the Minnesota Timberwolves stepped up in their first game without Karl-Anthony Towns, who will serve the second game of a two-game suspension Monday night when the Wolves host the Milwaukee Bucks.
Andrew Wiggins led the Wolves in scoring during their first game without Towns, scoring 21 points with four 3-pointers during a 131-109 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
Center Gorgui Dieng got in the act, starting in place of Towns. Dieng, whose previous action this season consisted of just six minutes during a win over Charlotte, scored 18 points, going 7-for-9 from the field, including a pair of 3s.
It was an impressive win for head coach Ryan Saunders’ new-look Wolves offense. The Wolves attempted 39 3s against the Wizards, and averaging 40 3-point tries per game this season, up from just 28.7 per game last season. It’s the second-largest such increase in the league so far this season.
As encouraging as that performance was, they’ll need to do it again — and then some — with the Bucks in town.
One of the league’s most prodigious 3-point shooting teams — the Bucks lead the NBA with 94 makes through six games — Milwaukee is also dangerous in transition thanks to reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks are averaging a league-leading 20.5 fast break points per game this season, while Antetokounmpo ranks second with 7.2 fast break points per game himself.
— The Wolves have four wins in their first five games for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
— Wiggins, whose shot selection has been the subject of much discussion in recent years, has ramped up his efficiency this season. Of Wiggins’ 90 field-goal attempts this season, 63 of them have been dunks, layups or 3-point tries.
— Towns has missed just seven games since entering the league in 2015. He’s started 327 games in his career, tied with Kemba Walker for the league lead over that span.
— The Bucks have won eight of their last 10 meetings with the Wolves, but Minnesota has won two of the teams’ last three meetings in Minneapolis.
Statistics via Sportradar