Andrew Wiggins' 28 points, and Anthony Davis' first career ejection helped the Minnesota Timberwolves take a 120-102 victory on the second night of a back-to-back in New Orleans.
1. Andrew Wiggins showed his great scoring talent as he scored 28 points in 27 minutes. Wiggins did this on 10-18 shooting and 3-6 from three. The biggest thing to this sports writer, he went 5-5 from the line. That perfect outing is huge for Wiggins as he looks to improve on a career low free throw percentage. He also had eight rebounds and dished out five assists.
2. The Wolves won the rebounding battle, winning 48-34. That victory is slightly lessened by the absence of Anthony Davis who was ejected at the 4:11 mark of the second quarter, but still proves to be a key for the Wolves victories.
3. Gorgui Dieng played a season high 37 minutes, as Karl-Anthony Towns was forced to play only 21 has he collected five fouls. In that relief duty, Dieng scored 19, hauled in six boards, dished out five assists, and collected four steals. His performance as well as the 12 points from Jamal Crawford off the bench are the performances this Wolves team needs.
1. The Timberwolves won the rebounding battle but couldn't earn more points in the paint or make more three-pointers as the Pelicans took both of those categories. New Orleans outscored Minnesota in the paint 44-40, and they hit five more three-point shots, hitting 14-35, good for a 40% clip, to the Wolves nine made threes.
2. Although Tyus Jones has put in good performances in relief of Jeff Teague offensively, scoring 16 with six assists Wednesday night, he and the Wolves wings were once again lit up by an opposing guard. The Pelican's Jrue Holiday scored 27 points, hitting five three pointers.
3. What ever happened to Shabazz Muhammed? Through the first 18 games, Muhammed was playing around 10 minutes per game. Since then, he has played seven minutes, four minutes, and got a "DNP-Coach's Decision" in Wednesday night's game. Now why has a player that was resigned as a key contributor off of the bench, suddenly seen his minutes dwindle more and more? Now he is a combo wing, capable of playing shooting guard or small forward, which happens to be Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler's positions, and he shares a bench with Jamal Crawford who is a shooting guard but that doesn't explain his lack of playing time. Is it his career low three-point shooting? Is it that the Wolves have been in so many tight games that Thibs feels he has to play Butler and Wiggins 36 minutes per game? The Wolves rely on Butler and Wiggins to do the majority of the scoring, along with Towns, as well as defend wings. In order to keep them healthy, it would be of benefit to the team and Thibadeau to either make a deal in the coming months for a reliable back-up small forward, or give more time to Muhammed and see what he can do. Find lineups with Towns as the anchor, surrounded by Jones, Crawford, and Muhammed and see what they can do. Even giving Muhammed 15 minutes a game, up from his current 11, would give Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins two less minutes to play each game, which would account to two and a half less games over the rest of the season. Come crunch time, and come May, June and hopefully July, those two and a half games will mean everything.
The Wolves are off Thursday as they head to Oklahoma City to play Russel Westbrook and the Thunder at 7 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.