T-Wolves Outgrit Grizzlies, Get the Clutch Win


Wow. What a resounding victory. This game seemed set to go the way so many others had, flirted with disaster, and still our boys came out ahead. Top to bottom, a good win, as the Wolves ended the Grizz’s win streak at four, 106-101.

This was a great win for a team that’s been struggling for a long time. Wiggins started out blazing, scoring seven points in the first six minutes, and on the backs of Wiggins, Rubio and Muhammad, the team ended the first half up 57-46 after Mario Chalmers hit an annoying three at the buzzer.

They then spent the second half losing their lead bit by bit with about seven thousand turnovers in a row, which were compounded by big plays by Matt Barnes, Mario Chalmers, and Ryan Hollins, whom the Wolves decided not to guard for about five minutes for some reason.

With three minutes left in the game, things started to spiral out of control. Back to back threes by Vince Carter and Matt Barnes tied the game at 99-99. After two free throws from Bjelica, Gasol hit a jumper, once again knotting things at 101 apiece. But unlike so many games before this season, the kids kept their cool, and calmly iced the game with free throws from Rubio and Wiggins.

So, yeah. The trend of getting big leads and blowing them in the fourth quarter remains. That’s something that’s going to need to be addressed eventually. For tonight, though, let’s celebrate the tough win.

Dribs and Drabs:

— Another very encouraging performance from Shabazz. He has now scored in double digits in ten of his last twelve games. Tonight: 25 points on 8-15 shooting, 8-8 from the free throw line. Played some tough D, and was out there with the big boys in the final minutes.

–Wiggins played a solid game all around. Maybe I’m spoiled, seeing as how I view 19 points and five boards as an average night. The Grizzlies don’t have the strongest collection of wings, so you’d like to see him assert himself more. Still, he hit a clutch pull up when they were really struggling in the last few minutes.

–Towns also had an efficient night, ending with 14 points (6-6 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists, and one monster slam. He wasn’t particularly aggressive on offense, but he was putting work in on the other end, so the lad can be forgiven for conserving energy. It doesn’t really even matter that he didn’t take a lot of shots. His floor-stretching capability coupled with his off the bounce ability makes defenses have to pay a lot of attention to him, freeing up lanes for everyone else.

–Rubio’s statline: 15 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, three steals. This was a fantastic outing for Rubio. He did exactly what he needed to. Though he was only 2-7 on the night, he hit 11 of his 13 free throw attempts and generally ran the team on both ends of the floor. This is the kind of performance the Wolves need from Rubio every night.

–Tonight’s crew to end the game: Rubio, Wiggins, Shabazz, Bjelica, and Towns. I kind of liked it. There was so much space, it didn’t feel like what watching the Timberwolves is supposed to be. Should this be the closing lineup going forward? I don’t know, but it certainly worked tonight.

Happy Saturday night, y’all. Next up: The Cavs in Cleveland on Monday. Historically that has meant a big Wiggins night. Fingers crossed. Peace be with you.

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