The bottom part of any NBA box score often has a few miscellaneous statistical stat categories — like largest lead, fast-break points — that sometimes have little bearing on what actually happened in the game.
Two of those little stats loomed large following the Timberwolves' 118-107 loss to Memphis — points in the paint and bench points.
The Grizzlies scored an eye-popping 80 points in the paint as they seemed like they hit every floater they took in the fourth quarter.
The other stat was bench points — 50-21 in favor of Memphis.
The Wolves had trouble generating offense outside their main threats in Karl-Anthony Towns, Malik Beasley and D'Angelo Russell, who combined for 78 points.
If a player had a weakness early in the season, it came out Wednesday. Ricky Rubio looked out of place as he shot just 1 of 5. Jarrett Culver looked like his confidence has waned significantly from the first few games as he attempted just two shots while Anthony Edwards, for all the flashes he has shown, showed he's still a rookie getting used to the NBA with a 1 of 6 performance. He has just one field goal in his last two games.
"I definitely thought it hurt us in that sense," Saunders said of the bench struggles. "So these guys, I can tell a few of our guys were a little tired toward the end. But we need everybody. Not just players, all of us. We got to step up and do more as we navigate through ups and downs of a unique year."
As for the paint points, Saunders pointed toward the Wolves' lack of physicality. It's not something they can turn on with a switch, he said.
"Usually that comes with experience and with time," Saunders said. "Unfortunately we don't have that. We need it now."
Towns said the Wolves lacked needed discipline on the defensive end, especially in the fourth quarter after the Wolves built a double-digit lead, especially as it related to defending the pump fakes of Kyle Anderson and Jonas Valanciunas. Here's Towns' full answer as he described that process.
"I think everyone in the building knows they're some of the best pump fakers in the league," Towns said. "We know they're pump faking. They're not shooting it, so to fall for the pump fake every time, like it's OK once. I admit I was the first one to take responsibility and accountability. Jonas, first quarter, did a pump fake, caught me off guard, I was sleeping. He didn't make it but at the end of the day, the integrity wasn't there on my part. I fell for the pump fake. I shouldn't have put my team in that position.
"It's OK to fall for it once. But, twice, three times, four times, every play, that's not how we work. That's not how this team is going to win. We have a small margin of error. We have to stay to that and that's us as players."