SAN FRANCISCO – The Timberwolves looked lifeless for the majority of their 113-104 loss to the Warriors on Monday night.

It took a few players who weren’t even with the team for Saturday’s game against Portland to inject some semblance of it into them.

It was Jordan McLaughlin and Kelan Martin, two players who have seen some action with the Wolves this year but are mainstays in G-League affiliate Iowa, who helped lead a fourth quarter charge that eventually brought the Wolves within five.

McLaughlin had the night of his life, scoring 19 points, dishing out four assists and getting three steals.
“It felt really good, just trying to do my job,” McLaughlin said. “Coaches told me to be aggressive, push the ball and change the place of the game to make an impact.”

That he did, sending some nervous moments through the crowd at the new Chase Center.

His wingman Martin had a strong second half, scoring right points, including a pair of three-pointers in the fourth quarter rally.

“I just think we brought energy on the bench,” Martin said. “We just wanted to get stops. It wasn’t going to come at once. One possession at a time, get a stop. Offensively try to get easy buckets.”

Martin and McLaughlin have each spent some time this year with the Wolves, garner some playing time. Martin played a key role in a road win at Utah in November, while McLaughlin had just 11 points total in his NBA career prior to Monday.

Both credited their time in the G-League, which mirrors what the Wolves are doing with their main roster, for preparing them for their moment Monday.

“It was all about buying into the system,” McLaughlin said. “I feel like what we do on the main team and affiliate are quite similar.”

There hasn’t been much positive to take away from an 11-game losing streak, but Martin and McLaughlin’s contributions were a bright spot Monday.

“I’m proud of them,” coach Ryan Saunders said. “I’m glad we had those guys. They competed and they fought.”