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Wiggins Ignites Wolves In Bounce-Back Game

by Julian Andrews
Web Editorial Associate Follow

This is the Andrew Wiggins the Timberwolves need and the one they always knew was there. Wiggins had been in a slump over the course of the last few games, but at shootaround the rangy forward calmly and confidently declared that he was back. Not only that, he predicted a strong performance against the Rockets.

Wiggins was instrumental in helping the Wolves fight their way back from a 19-point deficit. He did everything his teammates and coaches know he can do as he helped the Wolves stay in the game early and paced them as they made a run in the third. He attacked the rim, found weak points in Houston’s shifting defense and was a two-of-three from three including a long buzzer-beater at the half.

Wiggins also looked phenomenal on the defensive end, blocking three shots, grabbing a steal and using his length and athleticism to disrupt Houston’s offense. He has the tools to be a good defender both inside and on the perimeter. Wiggins is hard to get around and once you get him inside he can reach around to create steals and loose balls.

When all was said and done, Karl-Anthony Towns was the Wolves’ leading scorer, but Wiggins might have been their MVP in his best game of the season. He was a +16 on the night, finishing with 16 points and four rebounds to go along with his defensive stats. But as usual, the stat line doesn’t tell the whole story. Wiggins brought the Wolves back tonight.

These Wolves are different. They aren’t backing down from opponents. They feel like they deserve to win every night. They showed that on Monday. For a player like Wiggins, who has been criticized for being passive, this type of environment is critical. A move back to shooting guard and teammates who lift up and believe in him are starting to bring out the best in the talented young forward.

We often talk about players like Robert Covington and Josh Okogie as having infectious energy—we don’t often say the same about Wiggins. But tonight, it would be unfair to say anything less. When the Wolves needed a spark, they got one from Wiggins. When he plays like this, the Wolves won’t find many games they can’t win.