With the Timberwolves down five rotation players entering Monday’s 122-115 win over Brooklyn, they were going to need contributions from all corners of the roster.
They got a lift from rookie Jarrett Culver, who scored a career-high 21 points.
It took Culver 21 shots to get there, but Culver was hardly the only person who wasn’t a model of efficiency shooting Monday.
It’s been an up-and-down rookie season for Culver, who has struggled to find his shot. He was shooting just 24% from three-point range, 41% from the free-throw line and 36% overall entering Monday. The Wolves have been preaching patience to a fanbase concerned Culver hasn’t looked like a consistent ready-made NBA player after the Wolves took him at No. 6 in the draft. Monday was one of Culver’s best games in a while despite the shooting numbers.
“Just first, I keep my confidence,” Culver said when asked how he tries to work through his shooting sturggles. “And then second just notice a lot of other ways to affect the game so on the defensive end, I’ll try to get a steal or block to get me going. Just playing hard on that side of the floor.
Added coach Ryan Saunders: “Maybe the confidence level isn’t to where people want it to be in some guys but I don’t think these guys necessarily waver in their belief in each other, in their belief in the group. Jarrett did a good job; he made some big plays down the stretch tonight.”
Culver hit three threes and knocked down a pair of free throws at a crucial moment in the fourth with the Wolves trialing 101-96. Culver’s free throws came after Gorgui Dieng made an improbable save under the basket.
“I know ‘G’ made a big play. I just wanted to pay him back for making a big play and saving the ball that went out of bounds,” Culver said.
Ringing the bell
Jordan Bell had a career-first on Monday – his first career three-pointer. Bell, who is in his third NBA season, stepped back to the left corner during the third quarter and drained the shot. It was just the 12th three Bell has attempted in his career.
He celebrated in style, holding up three fingers and sticking his tongue out while the bench erupted.