OK, there was some luck involved Sunday in the form of Andrew Wiggins’ 30-foot, buzzer-beating shot that went off the glass, giving the Wolves a two-point victory over the Thunder in a suddenly silent Chesapeake Energy Arena.
But you have to give the Wolves this:
With the Thunder revving up offensively, eating up the 13-point lead the Wolves opened the fourth quarter with, Minnesota did not crumble.
Down the stretch there were several big-time possessions for the Wolves.
Here are a few:
--Four straight free throws by Jeff Teague the last two with 3:24 left.
--Wiggins’ driving layup with 1:43 left after Steven Adams’ three-point play had drawn the Thunder within a point.
--Wiggins’ put-back dunk with 37.1 seconds after Russell Westbrook’s driving layup.
--Karl-Anthony Towns incredibly athletic 9-foot floater with 9 seconds left.
The point is, the Wolves, for the second straight game, found a way to win a close game. Anyone who watched this team in recent seasons knows this is a sign of growth.
“Winning isn’t easy in this league,’’ Wiggins said. “One step at a time we’re getting better. Every game we’re getting better.’’
Here are some other impressions from tonight’s game:
--Welcome to the Wolves Jeff Teague. Tonight we saw the Jeff Teague everyone expected. He scored 19 points – six in the fourth quarter – to go with nine assists and six rebounds. “Jeff was terrific,’’ Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “That’s the Jeff we’re all expecting. Great speed, super aggressive. He was attacking.’’
--Both Taj Gibson and Towns had point-rebound double-doubles and the Wolves finished with a 45-36 edge on the boards.
--Jimmy Butler added 15 points, with six assists and six rebounds. Really, this might have been the first game the starting five looked like it was starting to gain some chemistry.
--Eight Wolves players hit a three-pointer tonight. All five starters along with Gorgui Dieng, Nemanja Bjelica, Jamal Crawford and Tyus Jones.