MEMPHIS – It’s might be hard for fans to look on the bright side after the Timberwolves suffered another agonizing loss, this time 108-106 to a Memphis team playing without Marc Gasol, who was reportedly close to being dealt before the game.
It might be especially hard to lose the way the Wolves did, with Justin Holiday sinking the winning free throws after officials called Josh Okogie for a loose-ball foul with 0.1 seconds left.
But if there was one bright spot, perhaps it was Dario Saric’s breakout performance in a Wolves uniform. Saric came off the bench to score 22 points, a season high for him in both Philadelphia and Minnesota, and kept the Wolves in the game early after the fell behind by 19 in the first quarter.
Saric had it going from inside and out, connecting on 4 of 7 3-pointers and hitting all four of his free throws.
“I saw guys started a little bit slower than usual in the game,” Saric said. “I was trying to say to myself, ‘Just try to play hard, bring some energy.’ And you know, some situations opened for me, some good looks and I take maybe a little bit more responsibility than usual.”
Saric had 16 of his 22 points in the first half. He also added seen rebounds and was a plus-29 for the game – easily the highest number of any Wolves player Tuesday.
“Played his best game of the year. Sad enough we had to waste it,” Towns said. “He came out, he was on fire, played amazing, gave us some lift and gave us a chance to win this game.”
Saric wasn’t the only one who came off the bench to contribute in a big way. Luol Deng continued his resurgence with 18 points on 8 of 10 shooting.
“They were very capable,” Josh Okogie said. “I’m not surprised by it.”
Rough night for Gibson
While Saric had a good night, it wasn’t as good for his counterpart at power forward, with Taj Gibson scoring only two points on 1 of 4 shooting in 12 minutes. Gibson was a minus-26 in the box score. An off night that was balanced by Saric’s strong game.