It has, after what’s happened in the last week, become his shot.
Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said it, more than once, after Andrew Wiggins’ 21-foot jumper with 10 seconds left in regulation forced overtime Monday night in a game the Wolves almost frittered away.
His teammates echoed that in the locker room after the Wolves put away 111-105 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic at Target Center on a night when the energy was too often too low.
The screen was good, Ricky Rubio’s pass was sure. Wiggins found his balance, rose and made a shot not dissimilar to the one at the buzzer that gave his team a one-point victory at Phoenix a week ago.
“I just got to my spot, raised up and shot it,’’ Wiggins said. “I believed in myself.’’
A late-game collapse avoided, Wiggins scored six points in an 8-2 start to the overtime that put the Wolves ahead for good. The result: a second consecutive victory, the Wolves’ fifth in six games and their eighth in 11.
“I thought we labored through the game,’’ Thibodeau said. “We were low energy to start. I thought in the end we made some mistakes. But we still found a way to win. So that was the positive.’’
And, perhaps, another step. To win — even against the 19-31 Magic — when things aren’t at their best? Progress.
Even so, it shouldn’t have taken so long to win Monday.
Up by a point entering the fourth quarter thanks to Shabazz Muhammad’s halfcourt buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the third, the Wolves went up by nine points with 4:43 left when Rubio hit his career-best sixth three-pointer of the game. But over the next 3:53, the Wolves shot 1-for-3 and both Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns had two turnovers during a 13-2 Magic run that ended with Orlando up 98-96 on C.J. Watson’s three-point play with 50.5 seconds left.
Only this time, the Wolves didn’t crumble.
Wiggins bought the Wolves five extra minutes, and they took advantage of a tiring Magic team playing on the second of consecutive nights. Nemanja Bjelica blocked Watson’s shot to start the OT, then he fed Towns a pass in the paint for two. After Nikola Vucevic was called for an offensive foul, Towns fed Wiggins for a dunk. After Watson hit two free throws, Wiggins hit two of his own. After an Orlando miss, Wiggins drove for a layup and the Wolves were up six and never trailed again.
Wiggins finished with 27 points, five assists and two steals. Towns, double-teamed throughout to the point where he didn’t attempt a fourth-quarter shot, had 23 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Rubio, 6-for-9 on three-pointers, had 22 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. Bjelica, getting an extended run in the Wolves’ small lineup, responded with seven points, four rebounds, two blocks and an assist.
All five Orlando starters were in double figures, led by Elfrid Payton (21 points), Watson (18) and Serge Ibaka (17). But Orlando shot around 36 percent after halftime, just 1-for-9 in overtime.
“We didn’t play good; low energy,’’ Rubio said. “But at the end of the season, you look at the games you could have won. These are the games we will say we didn’t have it 100 percent but kept winning. That will make us be able to make a run at the end to try to make the playoffs.’’
The Wolves now head to Cleveland on their fourth winning streak of the season, having won five of their past six home games. And with Wiggins, who lately is making a habit of late-game heroics.
“He showed how much of a gamer he really is,’’ Towns said. “We don’t have the opportunity to talk about a win if he doesn’t hit that.’’