One constant through the Timberwolves' struggles this season has been Malik Beasley, and no stretch of play encapsulated what Beasley has given the Wolves on a night-in, night-out basis than the final 8 minutes, 39 seconds of the Wolves' 127-122 loss to Dallas.
Beasley checked in with 8:39 to go and the Wolves trailing 106-86. He would then score 22 points and get the Wolves within three before they ultimately fell short.Beasley got to his 22 points by hitting 6 of 7 threes.
"I didn't want the team to go another game without fighting or battling and we've been doing that the whole time," Beasley said. "Just have to hit a few shots."
It was Beasley who fought for a tough putback that brought the Wolves within 123-120 with 50.8 seconds remaining on a play that typified the kind of effort he has given. It wasn't an easy rebound and he had to fight through traffic to secure it and then put it back up.
"I wanted to keep fighting and I always go to the end of the whistle if we're up 20 or down 20," Beasley said. " To be able to put it back up was the tough part and to finish it was the part that showed the hustle and [tenacity] not to quit."
The Wolves once again allowed a team to score 43 points in the first quarter and they were down double digits the rest of the way — until Beasley's hot streak began. First he hit threes on consecutive possessions, then spaced the next two out, and then had another burst of two that brought the Wolves within 123-116 with 1:34 to play.
Beasley just knew one thing during that time — he wanted the ball, whether he was going to shoot or not.
"Usually just in that moment, I just want the ball to bring my team back regardless of the situation," Beasley said. "Because if they would've double teamed I would've made the right pass or things like that, so in that time, whatever I can to get the team back involved."
That included emotionally as well.
"He was just able to block everything out and get us going," said guard Jaylen Nowell, who had 18 points off the bench. "After every shot he made, he turned over the bench and was like, 'Yo, turn up, turn up.' He brings a different energy that we definitely need."
Edwards figures it out
Anthony Edwards started the night 1-for-7 and was getting tired of Dallas center Kristaps Porzingis blocking his shot at the rim, which Porzingis did for two of his six blocks.
But Edwards was able to figure out a new plan of attack from there and finished by shooting 7 for his next 12.
"You've got to know how to get to the rim," Edwards said. "I feel like I was doing that poorly in the first half, because every time I went, Porzingis was blocking it, so I kind of started to take mid-range pull-ups and three-balls more, because they were just packing the paint and finding my teammates."
Edwards said he's looking forward to the day he can develop an effective floater near the rim so he doesn't have to choose between pulling up or taking it all the way to the rim. Right now, it's not there for him to use on a regular basis.
"It's not 100 percent confidence in the floater," Edwards said. "That's why I try to get to the rim as much as possible and shoot the three ball or the mid-range. Once I get my floater I feel like I'm going to be all right. They're going to have to come up a little more. Right now, they're backing up, so I just pull up from mid-range. I'm pretty confident in that."