Wednesday’s 121-104 Timberwolves victory over the Hornets followed a familiar pattern to the Wolves’ victory Monday over the Rockets.
Fall behind in the first half. Andrew Wiggins comes to the rescue to keep the Wolves alive, then the Wolves pull away in the second half.
Also like Monday’s game, the Wolves had a heart-to-heart in the locker room at halftime in which they hashed things out and got back on the same page.
“We had a very great discussion, I’ll call it that,” Karl-Anthony Towns said with a smirk.
But whatever the Wolves are doing is working because eventually they pushed back against the Hornets and held them to 18 points in the fourth quarter.
This communication was one of the things that Jimmy Butler complained about before leaving town. Derrick Rose also echoed the Wolves’ inability to talk to each other in a constructive way, especially when it meant being honest with each other.
Taj Gibson offered a slightly different perspective Monday.
“The communication was there. But when you got trades and all kind of shot looming over your head, it's difficult,” Gibson said. “We're professionals but it's always difficult when you hear trade rumors. You become close with guys. Now, all that is behind us and we can just move forward.”
Added guard Jeff Teague: “I just think we gel well. I think the guys like each other. We feel comfortable with one another and we’re letting KAT and those guys lead. They’re coming out and we’re responding well. We’re playing hard on both ends and the results are showing.”
Coach Tom Thibodeau said the improved communication isn’t just limited to the locker room at halftime, however, He said he has noticed more attention to detail when it comes to the Wolves talking with each other on the court.
“The halftime is great but it’s moreso [talking] during the course of a game,” Thibodeau said. “It’s the things you’re seeing out there. … communicate that and take advantage of it. … Things happen in a game and it’s not going to be perfect, but you can tell by the reaction when we do make a mistake, it’s recognized by the player almost immediately now and it doesn’t happen again. That’s important as well.”
Strong night for Wiggins
Wiggins had his best game in a while against the Rockets so the question headed into Wednesday’s game was if he could keep it up and build some consistency. His answer to that was a resounding yes with 26 points on 11 of 19 shooting to go with six rebounds and five assists.
Wiggins’ helped bring the Wolves back when they were down 15 in the first half with an electrifying put-back slam that left the crowd and his teammates in awe. Wiggins let out a primal yell after the dunk, a rare show of emotion for him on the court.
“I was excited,” Wiggins said. “We needed a little spark, too, because they had a little lead and we needed to get back and I feel like that just helped with momentum. The crowd was into it, the team was into it and I feel like that just helped us keep pushing forward."
Wiggins posterized his own teammate, Taj Gibson, on the jam. Gibson said he had no idea Wiggins was the one with the dunk.
“I couldn't see it. I thought it was [Towns] because I just saw a long arm,” Gibson said. “I'm just happy he was able to get a dunk. He acts like he is 30 years old. He's always so non-emotional. It just shows the effort that he's willing to put in. He's really hungry now."
Teague dishes out career high
It might have gone unnoticed to the casual fan, but Jeff Teague set a career high with 18 assists Wednesday. Teague was only 1 of 6 from the field for three points, but he helped the offense run smoothly regardless. Teague finished with a team high plus-33.
“Just trying to get those guys the ball in spots where they’re comfortable,” Teague said.