About Last Night | Wiggins & Teague Combine For 70
The Wolves took down the Clippers 126-118 on Monday night in Los Angeles.
The win snapped a four-game road losing streak for Minnesota and gave the Wolves a 3-0 season series lead over the Clippers. This game included a lot, including a Blake Griffin double dribble that doomed the Clippers at the end of the game.
Taj Gibson's reaction to Blake Griffin's double dribble pic.twitter.com/gHEJRdyvZs
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 23, 2018
Here are three observations from the win.
Don’t Play With Flames
The Wolves were without Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford, meaning someone was going to have to score for the Wolves.
Enter Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague.
Wiggins has become a more all-around player this season, but like Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns, has had to sacrifice in the scoring department for the greater good of the team.
He did not sacrifice on Monday night and it benefited the Wolves. Wiggins finished with 40 points and six rebounds, shooting 16-for-28 from the field and 3-for-7 from the 3-point line.
His previous season high came on Saturday in a win over Toronto when he scored 29. The Wolves are a better team with Butler than without, obviously, but the fact that Wiggins can step up when needed is a sign of growth for the fourth-year player.
And then there’s Teague. Teague finished with a season-high 30 points, shooting 7-for-14 from the field and 16-for-17 from the free-throw line. This was promising to see after Teague was in a bit of a slumpsville, averaging just eight points while shooting 30.6 percent from the field over the three previous games.
Teague for the layup! pic.twitter.com/C1JufRbD1B
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) January 23, 2018
Climbing The Standings
The win puts the Wolves at 31-18 on the season. Fun fact: The Wolves won 31 games all of last season, so according to math, they will make a big jump in the win department with more than two months remaining.
The win also puts the Wolves in sole possession of third place in the West, a half game above the Spurs. The Spurs play Cleveland on Tuesday night, so they could tie it up or it could give the Wolves a full one-game lead.
More fun facts: The Wolves are 24-7 in the Western Conference, the best conference record for any team in the league. They are also 9-1 in the division, the best mark in the entire NBA.
If the playoffs started today, the Wolves play the No. 6 seeded Pelicans.
Not Exactly A Reward
And Minnesota’s reward for beating the Clippers? A road back-to-back against the Blazers and Warriors! Yay!
First the Wolves will have the 25-22 Blazers on Wednesday. Minnesota is 2-0 against the Blazers this season, but Damian Lillard is one of those guys who can just have a night and that’s that.
And for the Warriors on Thursday night, well, it turns out they are really good. At 37-10, they have a three-game lead for first place in the West. The Wolves have beaten the Warriors in each of the last two seasons. We’ll see if they can make it three.
The Wolves and Blazers tip off at 9 p.m. on Wednesday at the Moda Center. The game will air on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO.