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Inside The Timberwolves' Impressive 3rd Quarter vs. Rockets

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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After being down 62-48 at halftime, and as much as 19 in the second quarter, it’s safe to say things were not going particularly well on Monday night for the Wolves against the Rockets.

Maybe it was Coolio singing at halftime. 

Maybe (and more likely) it was something Tom Thibodeau said at halftime. 

Whatever it was, it worked.

The Wolves came out and outscored the Rockets 38-20 in the third quarter. It was Minnesota’s highest-scoring third quarter of the season and six total players scored:

Karl-Anthony Towns: 10 points
Jeff Teague: 6 points
Dario Saric: 6 points
Taj Gibson: 6 points
Andrew Wiggins: 5 points
Robert Covington: 5 points

The Wolves shot 54.2 percent from the field in the quarter, while also hitting seven of 10 3-pointers. Teague and Saric hit two each. 

While the offense was rolling, the team was even more impressive on the defensive end – something the team has really bought into since acquiring Covington and Saric. The Rockets shot just 8-for-21 from the field (38.1 percent) and 2-for-11 from the 3-point line (18.2 percent). 

“I thought the defense is what got us going and it got us into the open floor. The third quarter in particular, when Jeff hit those threes it was basically off of our offense and guys were making plays,” Thibodeau said after the game. 

The Wolves forced five turnovers in the quarter resulting in 10 points. 

Wiggins, who was in a bit of a mini slump previously, was especially impressive in the quarter. While his five points were great, he also had four rebounds, three blocks and a steal. 

“I thought Wigs had a lot of plays in which he was at the rim protecting and then firing out and flying around and covering the line,” Thibodeau said. “I think when he has that type of energy, it just carries over. He just keeps moving. That’s the way we need him to play.”

The fourth quarter was equally impressive for the Wolves. They allowed just nine Houston points, the fewest allowed in a fourth frame by the team since the Blazers scored nine on Dec. 14, 2002. But it was the third quarter that propelled the team. 

Seeing this type of fight and performance from the Wolves tells you that this team is starting to build its reputation as a defensive-minded team that doesn’t give up.  

Over the last 10 games, this team has a defensive rating of 100.4, a mark that ranks second in the NBA over that stretch. That shows you how things have shifted since the trade considering on the season, the team ranks 16th with a 108.4 rating. 

Expect the Wolves to continue to rise in that category as these guys continue to play together. 

The Wolves wrap up a four-game homestand on Wednesday night at Target Center against Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets.