Timberwolves execute complete domination in victory over San Antonio
All you needed to know about the Timberwolves performance on Wednesday night was that Tom Thibodeau sat for most of the fourth quarter.
It was a night that even the perpetually worried coach of the Timberwolves could sit back and relax (relatively speaking) and empty his bench and admire his teams handywork on a night it could do almost no wrong with a 128-89 demolition of the Spurs.
In the second quarter, the bench and starter Robert Covington took a three-point lead and extended it, then kept extending it.
Then the starters came back in to start the third quarter and extended that lead and then kept extending it. The Wolves had taken advantage of a weak spot in the schedule the last week in winning three consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams unlikely to make the playoffs. Wednesday they played another contender in the Spurs and looked all-worldly in improving to 11-11, the first time they have reached .500 since Oct. 31.
The Wolves bench took a three-point lead and helped extend it to 23 by halftime, then the starters re-emerged in the second half to turn the game into a rout.
The constant for both units Tuesday was defense, and the constant player on both units was Covington, who was the lone starter getting time with the bench in the second quarter. Covington finished with 21 points in 31 minutes while Derrick Rose continued his efficient shooting, which has become expected from him, with 16 points on eight shot attempts, including 4 of 5 3-pointers.
Despite a sparse and late-arriving crowd thanks in part to inclement weather, the Wolves got off to a fast start, opening up a nine-point lead thanks to strong early minutes from Covington and Taj Gibson, who combined to score 13 points in the first quarter.
The Spurs bench, led by veteran guard Patty Mills, kept the Wolves in check as Mills led the Spurs with six points in the quarter and the Spurs were within three, 28-25 by the end of the first.
But it wasnt until the starters came out that the Wolves truly got started.
The second quarter featured perhaps the best bench minutes the Wolves have received this season. With a unit that consisted of Covington, Rose, Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones and Dario Saric, the bench took a three-point lead and increased it to 18.
Rose continued his impressive shooting with four field goals and 10 points on five shots. Saric provided his usual brand of rebounding and hustle, grabbing six boards and completing a three-point play the boosted the lead to 18 while Gorgui Dieng impressed on the defensive end with a pair of blocked shots and a few deflections. Jones pitched in two steals.
The Spurs shot just 4 of 21 in the quarter. The nine points the Spurs scored in the second quarter were the fewest allowed by Minnesota in any quarter since December 2014.
Then the game turned into a laugher in the third quarter as the Wolves didnt let up and Thibodeau didnt get mad even as they got a little careless with the ball. In the fourth quarter, Thibodeau emptied the bench and brought out fan favorite rookie Josh Okogie, who scored 12 points, to a raucous ovation. Funny enough, that was one of the loudest cheers on a night the Wolves gave fans a lot of reasons to do that. But at the end, Target Center did give the Wolves a standing ovation as the clock ran out on a fourth consecutive win.