Coming into the Timberwolves’ matchup against the Mavericks, the natural focus was on how the Wolves were going to slow down Dallas MVP candidate Luka Doncic.
The plan going in was to start guard Josh Okogie, put him on Doncic and see how that played out. For the most part, Okogie and the Wolves did what they wanted to do on Docic. It was the rest of the Mavericks that hurt them in a 121-114 loss for the Wolves.
Doncic finished with 22 points, but he needed 22 shot attempts to get there. He was 1 of 8 from three-point range and had five turnovers. Against someone who is nearly averaging a triple double, the Wolves did a fine job limiting Doncic.
“We followed the game plan perfectly,” Andrew Wiggins said. “Josh did a great job, made it hard for him the whole game. Picked him up full court. You just kind of tip your hat to Josh. It was all him. He worked his butt off defensively.”
It was an added challenge for Okogie, who has been playing through some nagging knee soreness that has caused him to miss two games. He played 27 minutes, scored seven points and had seven rebounds.
But in the fourth quarter, the Mavericks did their damage, especially from a deep bench. Jalen Brunson ignited the deciding run in the fourth by scoring 14 of his 16 points. Maxi Kleber added 12 while starter Dwight Powell had 24 on 9 of 9 shooting. Doncic contributed late as well, hitting a three and then hitting three free throws after the Wolves fouled him behind the arc.
Covington heats up
Robert Covington was one of the Wolves’ deadliest offensive weapons on Wednesday. Covington had 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting. He was 6 of 10 from three-point range. The six threes were the most Covington hit in a game this season.
His three straight threes toward the end of the second quarter helped the Wolves grab their first lead of the game, and when the Wolves were still trying to keep pace with the Mavericks late, Covington drained one from well beyond the three-point line. He usually takes a few of those per game, and don’t expect that to stop.
“That’s what I work on, those type of shots,” Covington said. “And I’m very confident shooting them. My coaches and teammates are very confident in me shooting and they’re all in rhythm. I just feel like I got the shot, let it fly.”