Andrew Wiggins' efficient 26 and Karl-Anthony Towns' double-double paced the new-look Wolves, but the Spurs pulled away as the Minnesota Timberwolves couldn't sink a number of three-pointers in the waning minutes, losing 107-99. Here are three positives and three negatives from their opening night loss.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins both had good games. Andrew Wiggins was outstanding for the Wolves scoring 26 points in 30 minutes. Wiggins was also efficient going 9-14 from the field, 4-6 from three and also had five rebounds and only one turnover. Karl-Anthony Towns was also good as he had his customary double-double scoring 18 points and pulling down 13 rebounds, while getting two steals and a block.
2. The Wolves three point shooting wasn't outstanding but was much better than expected. The Wolves shot 8-19 from beyond the arc good for a percentage of 42.1 and at one point the Wolves were 61.5% from three as they started 8-13 but they missed their final six three-point shots leading to their loss.
3. The Wolves also shot 43.5% from the field, held San Antonio to 46.1 percent, a slight improvement from last season, had 23 assists on 37 makes, as well as 21 points off the 11 San Antonio turnovers. They also outscored San Antonio in the paint 48-44 and had two less fouls then the Spurs.
1. Free Throw shooting. The Wolves shot only 73.9 percent from the line going 17-23. The Spurs on the other hand went 17-19. A big reason for the poor percentage was due to the performance of Wiggins who shot only four-of-nine from the line.
2. Off-season additions. Jimmy Butler had a pretty good game all the way around but one area in which he needs to improve on, which is honestly nitpicking, would be getting to the line. Butler shot zero free throws. He had five shots in the paint and went only 1-5 converting on an alley-opp pass from Jeff Teague in the first quarter. Now Jimmy Buckets had 12 points, four rebounds and three assists, and shot 5-12 from the field going 2-3 from three. But moving forward, he must get to the line. Taj Gibson then went 3-11 from the field for six points, missing both of his three-point attempts. However, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford both score an efficient 11 and 10 points with six and five assists.
3. Bench play. Jamal Crawford was good in his 24 minutes, with 10 points and five assists but Tyus Jones went 1-3, Gorgui Dieng went 1-5, and Shabazz Muhammed went 1-6. The Wolves were outscored by the Spurs bench 30-26.
The Wolves definitely have something to build on after their first game. Playing the Spurs, let alone in San Antonio, is no easy task and bringing down to the wire is something to build on moving forward.
The Wolves next play the Utah Jazz at 7 p.m. on Friday night as they play their first home game of the season.