Timberwolves dominate in all phases en route to fifth straight win
One game after tallying zero shot attempts, Rudy Gobert finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Timberwolves can point to Wednesday night as a prime example of what everything is supposed to look like on the floor when things are functioning properly across the board — and particularly with the starting lineup.
D’Angelo Russell was finding teammates for open buckets, Anthony Edwards was efficient and effective, Jaden McDaniels was hitting open shots and getting out in transition, Karl-Anthony Towns provided his usual scoring surges and Rudy Gobert dominated on the interior. On top of that, everyone defended effectively and with the proper intensity.
The end result was a 115-101 victory over the Pacers in Indianapolis.
“I just told the guys that was our best performance of the season, no doubt. Wire to wire, both ends,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “Even though we had high turnovers, we still played really, really well offensively. Defensively I thought we executed everything that we talked about. Very, very pleasing. Hopefully it’s one more step, many more to go, but one more step in the right direction.”
One game after tallying zero shot attempts, Gobert finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds. The Timberwolves found him for a number of easy buckets, including an impressive dish from Edwards in the fourth quarter for a Gobert finish that helped put the game away. Towns poured in 23 points to go with 11 rebounds and eight assists.
Minnesota outrebounded the Pacers 50-30 and scored 74 points in the paint to Indiana’s 38.
Indiana simply didn’t have the size to contest with the Timberwolves — a benefit Minnesota hoped to sport most of the season but finally took advantage of Wednesday.
Russell added 15 points and 11 assists. Edwards logged 19 points and seven rebounds and McDaniels scored 18 points with four blocked shots while also locking down guard Tyrese Haliburton. Indiana’s young star went just 4 for 15 from the field. Indiana shot just 39% from the field while Minnesota’s offense continued to hum.
“Defensively, we really did a good job executing the game plan. Big shoutout to Jaden McDaniels,” Finch said. “Setting the tone out top. Rudy patrolling the paint.”
Myles Turner exploded with 15 third-quarter points to bring Indiana within two. He finished with 31. But Minnesota again re-extended its advantage to 10 by the end of the frame thanks to 13 points in the quarter from Towns and nine from McDaniels.
Both teams entered the evening on winning streaks — Indiana as a winner of five straight and Minnesota of four — but with the victories coming against less-than-impressive competition. Wednesday was a chance for the two streaking squads to get a better idea of where they truly measured up.
The Wolves have to like where they currently stand.
“We knew it was going to be tough. These types of teams have given us trouble. Teams that play fast, move the ball well, have really troubled us so far,” Finch said. “Great step forward for us in being ready out there and staying locked in no matter what was happening.”
Jordan McLaughlin missed the game with a left calf strain. The reserve guard was coming off one of his best performances of the season Monday against Miami in which he drilled a season-high four 3-pointers.
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