Karl-Anthony Towns comes to Timberwolves’ rescue in victory over Chicago
Saturday night at Target Center against the Chicago Bulls, Wolves starters Robert Covington and Andrew Wiggins combined to take a total of 30 shots.
They missed 29 of them.
That the Wolves still managed a 111-96 victory is a testament to a number of things:
The Bulls, who lost for the sixth time in seven games, arent a very good team right now. Injuries have sapped the team of offensive threats.
The Wolves made up for many of those misses with offensive rebounds that resulted in 29 second-chance points.
The Wolves appear to be getting deeper.
Derrick Rose came off the bench to score 22 points on 9-for-13 shooting. Center Karl-Anthony Towns, owner of a double-double by halftime, finished with 35 points and 22 rebounds. Dario Saric had his first double-double in a Wolves uniform with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
With the Wolves bench scoring 48 points, the Wolves (9-11) won for the second straight time, improved to 5-2 since the Jimmy Butler trade and to 8-3 at Target Center.
Up five after three quarters, the Wolves held the Bulls to just two points on 1-for-11 shooting over the first 5 minutes, 55 seconds of the fourth quarter, building a 15-point lead in the process.
Former Wolves player Zach LaVine had 28 points and four assists for the Bulls. Jabari Parker scored 27 points.
It was a relatively stress-free victory over a struggling team despite very, very difficult nights for two very important players.
Covington was 1-for-18, scoring just four points, though he did play his customary defense, collect six rebounds and get three steals. Wiggins, though, went 0-for-12, did not reach the free-throw line and had one assist and one rebound in 29 minutes. He watched the fourth quarter from the bench.
But Saturday, it didnt matter.
The Wolves, struggling mightily out of the gate, made just eight of 28 first-quarter shots. Wiggins was 0-for-7, Covington 0-for-3 and Towns 2-for-6.
But they made up for it with some ferocious rebounding, especially on the offensive end. The Wolves scored 10 second-chance points in the first quarter, one reason they were within 22-20 entering the second quarter despite shooting 28.6 percent.
Down 12-10, Jeff Teague and Rose both hit three-pointers in a 10-3 run that put Minnesota up 20-15 before the Bulls getting four points from LaVine scored the final seven points of the quarter.
The Wolves were within a point, 50-49, at halftime. It was something of a feat, really, considering the Wolves shot 34.5 percent and had Covington and Wiggins go a combined 0-for-20.
Down two, the Wolves scored the first eight points of the second quarter to go up six points on Sarics basket off a nice Gorgui Dieng feed two minutes into the quarter.
The Wolves maintained a lead for much of the rest of the first half, before the Bull finished the half on a 10-3 run.
It was rebounding that kept the Wolves in the game, with 12 of their 28 first-half rebounds coming on the offensive end, leading to 18 second-chance points.
Teague had 12 points by halftime, and the Wolves had a 20-6 edge on bench points. But the starters were a combined 12-for-42 (28.6 percent) in the first half.
The shooting woes continued for both Covington and Wiggins in the third quarter. But Towns and Rose more than picked up the slack.
Rose had 10 points on 4-for-4 shooting and Towns had 13 points and seven rebounds in the third quarter, which ended with the Wolves up 84-79.