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Wolves Come Back But Are Narrowly Defeated By Mavericks

by Julian Andrews
Web Editorial Associate Follow

The Wolves put in a great effort but couldn’t close out down the stretch on Friday night, falling to the Dallas Mavericks in an absolute heartbreaker, 119-115. The Wolves came back from down 14 to go up one with under a minute left, but were unable to respond after rookie sensation Luka Doncic hit a dagger three-pointer with 23.9 seconds left in the game. 

It’s a bit of a wonder the Wolves were in the position they were down the stretch given how they looked in the first half, but that only makes this one hurt more. Minnesota was out of sorts to begin the game—they missed countless shots that spun around the rim and out, and the fast and free style they have started experimenting with led to too many turnovers and easy opportunities for the Mavericks.

The Wolves went into the half down 11 but roared back in the opening minutes of the third quarter. They went on a 13-2 run to open the period and shot 6-of-9 from three in the period. This was a game of runs. The Mavs and Wolves went back in forth going on hot streaks and at the end of the day Dallas just got a few more buckets to fall.

I wish there was a stat for narrow misses—especially in the first half, the Wolves missed countless shots that rolled around the rim and out. They weren’t throwing up bricks, they got good looks, but they just couldn’t get shots to fall. 

There were a few positive things to take away from tonight, first and foremost being that Karl-Anthony Towns is still a monster. Despite early foul trouble, Towns finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, moving into sixth place on the Wolves' franchise scoring list. He shot 57.1 percent from the field. Taj Gibson was also phenomenal. He had a huge tip-in to put the Wolves up late in the fourth-quarter before Doncic’s three and he had a season-high 15 rebounds in the game. 

This loss hurts, but luckily the Wolves don’t have long to dwell on it. They’re back to play Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night. You can find tickets for that game here.

A few things I noticed:

  • Josh Okogie is not intimidated by Doncic! Okogie took it to the Mavs’ prized rookie and made him work on both ends of the floor. Doncic is more polished than Okogie, but Okogie obviously took the matchup personally. Okogie had one of his best games offensively, hitting four threes and finishing with 15 points, and was in Doncic’s face the whole night. Okogie’s development has been one of the best stories of the year for the Wolves.
  • The Wolves kept themselves alive in the first half with their offensive rebounding. While their persistence on the glass occasionally allowed the Mavs to get out in transition, for the most part the Wolves’ efforts led only to good things. They scored 20second-chance points in the game.
  • Ryan Saunders was, as expected, greeted very warmly at Target Center for his first game on the sidelines. The Wolves showed a nice video package including an interview with Wolves Radio’s John Focke and a recap of the Wolves’ win in OKC. You can watch both of those here.