MILWAUKEE — The Timberwolves' top three players all had a good night in their 113-108 victory over Milwaukee. Karl-Anthony Towns stopped letting his battles with officials get the better of him in scoring 25 points on 9 of 13 shooting. Anthony Edwards scored 25 as well and came up with four points in the final minute to ice the win while D'Angelo Russell hit his first five shots on his way to 29.
The Wolves, however, don't beat the Bucks without the contributions of Jaden McDaniels and Jarred Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt got his first start of the season and as a reward he had the unenviable task of guardian Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 40 points. Vanderbilt is a key cog in the Wolves' team defense when he's on the floor and his major contribution Wednesday came on the glass.
Vanderbilt corralled 13 rebounds, including six offensive 24 second-chance points to Milwaukee's 13. He benefited from some of those second-chance points in scoring 10. Vanderbilt had some on the glass too.
His energy was contagious among his teammates.
"Oh man, he's my favorite player on the team," Edwards said. "I love to see him succeed, man. He helps us tremendously. I can't even describe it. I'm just happy for him, bruh. I love to see him succeed."
Added coach Chris Finch: "He played a complete game. He really did. Just guarding Giannis and taking that challenge as much as we gave it to him. Particularly in the first half, he was really active finding the [rebounding] gaps in their defense."
McDaniels also had the tough assignment of guarding Khris Middleton, but McDaniels was aggressive with Middleton and tried to go over as many screens as he could. At one point, McDaniels aggression caused Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer to complain to officials, which earned him a technical. McDaniels got the best of that battle in holding Middleton to 6 of 16 for 16 points. McDaniels also had 13 rebounds as the Wolves outrebounded Milwaukee 49-43.
"Middleton's got that length and we're fortunate enough to have a guy like Jaden who takes those challenges and really responds," Finch said. "He did a great job."
Finch also added: "Jaden McDaniels has been doing a really good job of rebounding for us all season. Even if the numbers don't show it for us, he's in the mix."
Towns explains quiet start
Towns mentioned after the game Edwards and Russell said they wanted to have the ball in their hands a little more to control the action offensively. Towns went along with it and didn't shoot at all in the opening minutes of the game.
The plan worked, though, as the Wolves shot 68% in the first quarter. Towns waited until there were 3 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the first quarter to take his first shot.
"Last game Ant, D-Lo wanted to touch the ball a little more and get more passes and have more of the ball in their hands so they could affect the game a little more, and I obliged," Towns said. "I've been shooting a lot of shots. I took a backseat to make sure they could thrive and they could succeed. They came out and did exactly what they said they were going to do when they get more chances."