This game never seemed to be in the cards for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota started the game flat and struggled through the second half. It seemed like every time the Timberwolves gained ground, a New Orleans Pelicans player had the answer with a punch in the gut of three.
That didn’t change at the end of the game. As the game looked to be heading into extra time after a bucket from D’Angelo Russell with three seconds remaining, the Pelicans found a way to give the ball to Brandon Ingram for a dagger three facing Josh Okogie.
Minnesota now ends the series of seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans at 2-2 and won’t see them again (pending a playoff game) until next year. This unfortunately means that there are no clashes between Zion Williamson and Nathan Knight as we have all hoped for.
Heading into the game, Minnesota had just come off a four-game winning streak where they regained a 0.500 record at 20-20. They looked like a good team beating the teams they’re supposed to beat with convincing wins over the LA Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets. This game had the vibes of the old Timberwolves teams where they lost the game to themselves due to lack of energy / one hell of a worry.
It all started with great energy from Jarred “The New and Improved Reggie Evans” Vanderbilt as he picked up where he left off in Houston by diving three times in the first quarter and being his usual invaluable self for the team. . D’Angelo Russell also continued his All Star campaign in the first three-on-four shot to start the game.
Unfortunately, as the first one ended, Jaylen Nowell took a hard hit on a loose ball and left the game with a sprained ankle. He was then kicked out and as I type this a timeline for his return has not been released. This put the rotation of the guards in a strange place as Patrick Beverley was limited in minutes. This resulted in a handful of outdated designer-less rosters and the game slowly moved away from Minnesota by the end of half-time.
After finishing the half with a seven-point run, the Pels drove him straight back to Minnesota to start the third with an 8-3 run threatening to blow the game’s cover against the lackluster Wolves.
Chris Finch injected Taurean Prince into the roster halfway through the third and brought Wolves to life. As mentioned at the start of the article, Wolves spent the rest of the game trying to get out of a first hole and relied heavily on Anthony Edwards late in the game in an attempt to steal a victory from New Orleans. :
ANT scored 20 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late as the Pelicans had an answer every time, connecting in their last nine three-point attempts to freeze the game and end the streak. of four consecutive wins for Minnesota.
To end on a nice note, Jaden McDaniels is awesome. During COVID, it played a bigger role in attack and it hasn’t gone away. He seems more comfortable attacking the rim, with the ball in his hands, and actually playing offensively with the stars without postponing. This is a super exciting thing to watch out for as Jaden McDaniels has a ton of potential that needs to be tapped and he could very well fill the need for an attacking creator off the bench.
Looking ahead to the schedule, the Timberwolves will now face a scorching Memphis Grizzlies (who have won ten straight games) followed by a home game Sunday against Andrew Wiggins and the Golden State Warriors.