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Beasley Continues To Shine, Not Enough For Wolves Against Celtics

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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The Timberwolves fell to the Celtics on Friday night at sold-out Target Center, 127-117.

While losing is never the goal, or very much fun, you have to look at the positives with this new-look Timberwolves squad – especially without their best player in Karl-Anthony Towns. It was announced on Friday evening that Towns will miss at least the next two weeks with a fracture in his wrist.

There are no moral victories, but you should feel good about how the Wolves played in this one considering the Celtics have the third-best record in the entire NBA this season. Minnesota was down 108-107 midway through the fourth quarter before Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward (who combined for 57 points) iced the game for Boston. Since we mentioned Towns was out, we also have to mention that Boston All-Star point guard Kemba Walker (knee) also sat out of this one. We tell the whole truth here at Timberwolves.com. 

Let’s recap this notebook style.

The Backcourt Of The Future

How about Malik Beasley? Did you know he was this good? I did not, but my goodness is he taking advantage of his opportunity to shine in Minnesota. Beasley finished with 27 points, shooting 10-for-18 from the field and 4-for-8 from the 3-point line. Beasley has now eclipsed 20 points in three of his four games with the Wolves and is averaging 27.5 over his last two. While D’Angelo Russell stole the headlines at the trade deadline, and rightfully so, Beasley seems like he’s going to be really good on both ends for this team. The passion he plays with is absolutely contagious.  

Speaking of Russell . . . The point guard had a nice all-around game, finishing with 18 points, 13 assists and six rebounds. Those 13 assists were actually a season high. Russell accounted for 51 points in the game. While he wasn’t efficient (just 5-for-16 from the field and 1-for-9 from deep), he was the engine behind Minnesota’s offense, especially early.

While the Wolves have work to do, this backcourt looks very promising.  

The other players acquired at the trade deadline also had pretty solid nights. Juancho Hernangomez had 17 points and five rebounds, while James Johnson had nine points, six rebounds and four blocks. 

The Story Of Naz 

With Towns out, rookie Naz Reid got his first career start. If you’ve been following the Timberwolves since this summer, what a treat Reid has been. The dude went from being undrafted to a Summer League standout to a player on a two-way contract (which lasted like two minutes) to a full-time NBA rotation player. Reid finished with 19 points, nine rebounds and three steals on Friday night, shooting 7-for-15 from the field and 2-for-5 from deep. 

Reid needs to work on finishing inside – he tends to get open looks, but just misses. He also needs to be better defensively. Daniel Theis shouldn’t be scoring 25 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. But the intrigue around Reid continues and he looks like a huge hit from Minnesota’s scouting staff this summer. Good job by you, Gersson Rosas. 

3-Point Success Continues

Minnesota shot 15-for-42 from the 3-point line, hitting at a 35.7 percent clip. In three of the four games since the trade deadline, the Timberwolves have shot 34 percent or better from deep. In the 50 games prior to that, the Wolves were hitting just 32.5 percent of their 3-pointers. I know, a three percent increase doesn’t seem wild, but it’s the difference between ranking first in the league (Utah at 38.7 percent) and ranking 16th in the league (Denver at 35.7 percent). 

It’s become more and more obvious that these players better fit the system Ryan Saunders is trying to play.  

The Wolves are back at it on Sunday evening against the Nuggets in Denver. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. CT on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO.

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