The Minnesota Timberwolves are on the rise. It’s doable to play an exciting late November NBA sport in the course of an thrilling Faculty Soccer rivalry Saturday, and the Timberwolves performed a double time beyond regulation thriller towards the Philadelphia 76ers. It was heart Joel Embiid’s return to the lineup after a battle with COVID-19, and he delivered with 43 factors on 52.2 p.c taking pictures from the sector, but it surely wasn’t sufficient. The Timberwolves pulled out the 121-120 victory. They’re at present .500 on the season and have gained six of their final seven video games — that features a five-game successful streak that was their first for the reason that 2017-18 season.
Their prime performer was guard D’Angelo Russell. He scored 35 factors on 52 p.c taking pictures with six 3-pointers and eight assists. Russell made what would’ve been the game-winning three within the first time beyond regulation if the Timberwolves may’ve boxed out 76ers heart Andre Drummond to forestall a tip-in, following a missed free throw from guard Tyrese Maxey. Russell gave the Timberwolves the lead that they’d not relinquish within the second time beyond regulation when he stripped Maxey, led the break, and made the go to ahead Taurean Prince for the go-ahead bucket.
With the Warriors having solely two losses, it might be logical to consider that they gained the Russell/Andrew Wiggins commerce. Russell wasn’t serving to the Warriors win in guard Stephen Curry’s absence, and Wiggins on the ahead has helped solidify their protection whereas nonetheless offering a scoring punch. Wiggins’ constructive influence on the Warriors is evident, however that doesn’t imply Russell is a loss for the Timberwolves.
Russell has averaged 19.5 factors per sport and almost six assists in his 72 video games with the Timberwolves. Whereas his total field-goal share is low at 42 p.c, he’s taking pictures 36.7 p.c from the three-point line, averaging almost three makes per sport. Final season he missed 31 video games with a knee harm, however after his return the Timberwolves closed one other effectively under .500 season, going 11-11.
Who really makes the Timberwolves well worth the worth of admission (and the clicking on the League Cross app) is guard Anthony Edwards. His efficiency above the rim and in post-game press conferences makes him each bit value final season No. 1 total choice. He’s the primary thrilling a part of Timberwolves group since these Prince-inspired Metropolis Version jerseys. Edwards closed Saturday’s win for the Timberwolves in spectacular style He blocked 7-foot-2 Embiid’s 3-pointer as time expired.
That’s consecutive defensive performs for the Timberwolves to knock off one of many higher groups within the NBA on the highway, and people performs usually are not anomalies. The Timberwolves at present have the eleventh finest defensive ranking within the NBA. They haven’t completed a season higher than twentieth for the reason that 2013-14 season. Throughout this present stretch of wins they held groups below 100 factors in 4 consecutive video games, and just one workforce has scored greater than 101 factors on them in regulation.
Guard Patrick Beverley has definitely turned out to be an important addition to what gave the impression to be a crowded backcourt. He’s averaging 25.4 minutes per sport is second on the workforce in defensive field plus/minus and fifth in particular person defensive ranking amongst gamers who frequently seem on the court docket. The Timberwolves had higher hope Beverley’s defensive depth stays with the workforce in spirit prefer it did on Saturday. He didn’t play, and gained’t be on the court docket for a minimum of a few weeks with an adductor pressure.
That is unfamiliar terrain for the Wolves. If the playoffs began as we speak, they’d be internet hosting a play-in sequence sport. They’ve made the playoffs as soon as for the reason that 2004-05 season, and gained two playoff sequence for the reason that franchise made its debut in 1989. Not solely have they got a professional shot on the postseason, this workforce is enjoyable to look at. This can be a younger workforce with promise that any basketball fan would get pleasure from tuning in to see, that may’t have been stated about any Timberwolves workforce since Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett.
Possibly this time, the kids can keep collectively and construct as a substitute of changing into a passing reminiscence of hope for an in any other case hopeless franchise.