NEW ORLEANS — Through the first 10 games of the season, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch used five different starting lineup. Through the last seven games he has used only one — Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt, Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D'Angelo Russell. The Wolves are 4-3 with this starting lineup and it has the best net rating of any lineup in the NBA that has played together at least 25 minutes, according to data from NBA.com.
"I think it's working extremely well ..." Finch said. "We have three ball dominant guys who are all extremely skilled and you need guys that can play without the ball and make a high level of impact. Patrick and Vando do just that. Then they step up and make timely plays."
Net rating is the number of points scored per 100 possessions minus the number of points allowed per 100 possessions.
The lineup meshed well again Monday with Beverley and Vanderbilt leading the charge defensively and providing hustle plays while Edwards and Russell struggled to find their rhythm shooting. Beverley and Edwards had three steals each while Vanderbilt had two. Vanderbilt had seven of his 11 rebounds on the offensive glass and no player finished with a plus-minus in the starting lineup of lower than 16 (Russell).
"It was tough in the beginning, coach was trying to find out who could play with each other obviously and then we just — Vando, D-Lo, Ant, Kat — I don't think no one envisioned that starting the season, but we put it together," Beverley said. "We practiced and it worked. … I give a lot of credit to coach for making that adjustment."
The Wolves' schedule does get a little harder going forward, with games against Miami, Charlotte and Philadelphia coming up to close out the week. The lineup will go through its toughest set of games.
McDaniels stays out of foul trouble
Forward Jaden McDaniels had another solid game coming off the bench with 10 points and eight rebounds. Perhaps the most important stat for McDaniels came in the foul column — one.
McDaniels has had issues staying out of foul trouble this season.
That has eased a bit since he moved to the bench but he picked up six in the win over Memphis on Saturday.
When asked how it felt to go through a game with only one foul, McDaniels said, "Super good."
"Just being able to just control what I can control," he continued. "Some nights I might get the whistle more than others, so just watching film on my fouls and stuff is something I've been doing and continuing to stay solid on defense. Like, not going for fakes and little things like that."
Edwards gets sore knee, but keeps playing
Finch said one reason for Edwards' lackluster night (6-for-16 shooting) was because he "took a knock on the knee early."
"I was a little worried about that," FInch said. "So he didn't have too much early juice. Said he felt a little better at halftime."
Edwards was able to play in the second half and it didn't seem to be a worry for Finch going forward.