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Veterans Lead Mavericks Past Wolves

Todd Barin
Web Editorial Associate
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The Timberwolves came up short on Sunday afternoon as they fell to the Dallas Mavericks at home, 88-78.

After a competitive first half, Minnesota was unable to keep up with Dallas’ 3-point onslaught as they Mavericks went 14-for-40 in the contest.

“Defensively, I think the second half we kind of locked in on what they were doing and did a great job of just contesting shots,” Mavericks guard Devin Harris said. “Offensively, it wasn’t pretty in the first half, but shots began to fall in the second half.”

Neither team shot the ball well, but Dallas was persistent on the glass and hauled in 44 rebounds, which included 14 on the offensive side of the ball.

“I thought our team defense and our collective will carried us because we were having a rough night shooting the ball,” Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you’re having a rough night shooting the ball, the only thing that’s going to hold you in NBA games is the ability to get stops.”

The backcourt combination of J.J. Barea, Wesley Matthews and Devin Harris were too much for the Wolves as those three combined for 56 points and 10 assists.

“The main part was their second-chance points,” Andrew Wiggins said. “They had a lot of tap-outs, offensive rebounds and I think we got twenty-something points off of it and six three's off of it. I think that right there is a game changer."

Wiggins scored a game-high 30 points and Karl-Anthony Towns was one assist shy from his first career triple-double. The Kentucky Wildcat standout played an all-around fantastic game, scoring 11 points, snatching 21 rebounds, dishing out nine assists and blocking three shots.

Numbers Game:

  • 9: Minnesota has struggled with physicality all season long and that wasn’t an exception today, as the Mavericks hustled for this many more offensive rebounds than the Wolves tallied. 

“The main thing we talked about in shootaround yesterday was that they get a lot of long rebounds and keep the ball out,” Wolves interim head coach Sam Mitchell said. “We talked to all of our guys that you've got to stay at home and check your man before you leak out. If you look back at the game, we held them to 38 percent. Six of their 3’s of the 14 they made were long tap outs."

  • 19: Dallas shot this many more 3-pointers than the Wolves did. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but anytime a team makes 10 more shots from beyond-the-arc than their opposition, it’s most likely going to end in a victory.
  • 21: It’s not often one player accounts for more than half of his team’s total rebounds, but that happened this afternoon as Towns hauled in a career-high with this many of Minnesota’s 41 rebounds on the day.

Leader of the Pack: Karl-Anthony Towns

In one of his best overall performances of the season, Towns was one assists away from notching his first-ever triple-double. The first overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft grabbed a career-high 21 rebounds, scored 11 points, assisted nine baskets and even blocked Dallas three times.

"I was just trying to let the game come to me,” Towns said. “People were wide open, so I was trying to get them the ball in their spots and have them take shots I know they could hit." 

Highlight of the Afternoon:

Late in the first quarter Wiggins took it upon himself to get the fans on their feet as he absolutely posterized 7’1 Salah Mejri. Last season’s Rookie of the Year went baseline and used his body well to fend off the Dallas big-man and flush home the dunk. 

Quotable: Karl- Anthony Towns 

The game of basketball, you've got to have more shots than the opponent and we didn’t do that tonight, so we walked out with an 'L.’ Everything adds up, so we didn't do what we were supposed to do. We kept making mistakes and it cost us at the end.

Up Next:

Minnesota will travel to San Francisco on Tuesday and take on the defending NBA champions at 9:30 p.m. Golden State is 68-8 on the season and have only lost once at home this season. The intriguing matchup will be televised on TNT, plus you can also tune into the game on 830 WCCO radio. 

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