BROOKLYN – There was no getting around it, it was an awful Wednesday for Andrew Wiggins for 48 minutes.
Wiggins was 8-for-25 through four quarters, and you could forgive Timberwolves fans for being fed up with that inefficiency. Wiggins even missed the final shot of regulation. But Wiggins left the night on a high note, taking the ball to the basket and scoring the Wolves’ final four points of overtime, providing enough cushion for them to win 127-126 over the Nets after Kyrie Irving missed the final shot.
“The only way I was going to take a jumper down the stretch was if they leave me completely wide open, I’m going to shoot it,” Wiggins said. “But my main focus was getting to the rim. I feel like I had success doing that throughout the game so I just stayed with it.”
The decision to not take a jump shot was a wise one for Wiggins. A look at his shot chart on NBA.com showed Wiggins did not score on any shots he took outside the lane. He was 9 of 17 on shots around the basket, 1 for 10 everywhere else.
When asked if he was discouraged that he shot wasn’t falling, Wiggins said: “Nah, because I worked so hard this summer. I shot so much. There’s days where your shot’s not falling. I look at tonight like, OK, I shot the ball bad, but we still won. So when I play good and my shot’s falling, it’s going to be good for everybody. So I just take the positive out of it and stay with that.”
Coach Ryan Saunders said he like Wiggins’ aggressiveness in taking the ball to the basket, especially in the second half.
“There’s things that we are going to work on,” Saunders said. “Things we are going to watch on film and address and there’s things that will help him. That’s a team that tries to force you into long contested twos. It was a good challenge for us in the first game to stay within our system. I thought in the second half he did a fantastic job getting to the rim, finished better and then he also made some plays for other guys.”
Balance of shots
The Wolves took 108 shots on the night, playing at the kind of high pace that they desired for most of the game. Of those 108 shots, 43 of them were from three-point range, which is in line with the total number of threes the Wolves want to take. They hit 13, a clip of 30%. It wasn’t always pretty – the Wolves hit their first 6 of 11 from deep and only 7 of 32 after that, but that won’t discourage them from firing away Friday in Charlotte.
Slowing the game down
Even though the Wolves want to play fast, late in the game, the pace slowed and the Wolves ran more traditional half-court offense. The biggest different was that Towns played more in the post as opposed to the perimeter, where he was situated for most of the night.
“That’s been a conversation we’ve all been having for weeks now,” Saunders said. “You can play fast and that’s our system. You saw that. We still got 108 shots up tonight. We’re going to play fast. But we also understand there’s times we need to execute and get a good shot.”