Andrew Wiggins disappeared from the floor Monday night after playing just eight minutes. This was unusual for Wiggins, who only missed one game in his four previous NBA seasons.
Wiggins exited because of a right quad contusions, also known as a bruise, and did not return Monday night. But there’s good news for the Wolves, it doesn’t appear to be serious.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said Wiggins was “day to day” and the team would have a clearer picture of Wiggins’ injury on Tuesday, but Wiggins downplayed the severity after the game. He said he would make the trip to Toronto for Wednesday’s game. He added that the injury happened as he was trying to defend a dribble handoff and he got a knee to his quad.
“I’m good. I’m feeling better,” Wiggins said. “Got a lot of treatment throughout the game. We have a good training staff, so I think I’ll be cool.”
Wiggins’ durability is a source of pride for him and he doesn’t think he will be missing a game for the first time since Nov. 10, 2015.
“Thank the Lord I haven’t really been injured in my career,” Wiggins said. “This is nothing. Just a little bruise. I’ll be good.”
Karl-Anthony Towns didn’t have a flashy game on Monday, but his numbers were strong – 17 points and 14 rebounds. However, what impressed coach Tom Thibodeau was Towns’ defense.
“I thought that was one of KAT’s best defensive games,” Thibodeau said. “He did a number of great things: challenging shots, making people miss inside, rebounding the ball, getting out quickly. I thought he played a terrific all-around game.”
Towns’ defense helped set the pace for the Wolves’ best output on that end of the floor this season. The Wolves held the Pacers to under 40 percent shooting (36 of 91) and Towns helped the Wolves win the rebounding battle in the second half 29-16 after the Pacers had the edge 29-18 in the first.
Getting a break
The Wolves have made it a point to get out in transition this season and that was clear Monday when they posted 26 fast-break points to the Pacers’ eight. The Wolves had 29 on Saturday against the Mavericks, so Monday marked their first time scoring 25 or more fast-break points in consecutive games since Dec. 2001.
“We do want to play a lot faster,” Thibodeau said. “Now, I don’t know what it really means, because our pace was fast in preseason and we got blown out. If the pace is fast and we win, I’m good. Now, I think we have the capability of doing that.”
Thibodeau said the personnel the Wolves have, with Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones, always enables them to be threats to run. Transition is also a way for the Wolves to get Towns easy touches, as they did multiple times Monday, when Towns would post-up in transition.
“He’s getting down the floor a lot better and he’s mixing up being the first big down,” Thibodeau said. “There are the opportunities because [he’s] … sprinting the floor to the front of the rim before the defense can get set. It sets up a lot of things.”