Are The Minnesota Timberwolves Finally Turning The Corner As Team?

Minnesota Timberwolves
NBA Analysis Network

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been rolling lately — winning seven of their previous eight games. The latest victory for the team occurred during the NBA’s Saturday slate of action as the they took down the Philadelphia 76ers 121-120 in double-overtime.

One of the top keys for the Timberwolves in the win was D’Angelo Russell, who finished 35 points, four rebounds, and eight assists. He ended up shooting a staggering 13/25 (62%) from the floor and 6/10 (60%) from beyond the arc while also chipping in a pair of steals and blocks.

”That was probably one of the best (Russell) performances I’ve ever seen,” Karl-Anthony Towns said, via Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. ”Multiple times we could’ve let go of the rope. We just made it our night. Instead of hoping the game came to us, we took the game. I’m just very proud of the way we played.”

It was clear that Russell made it a point to step up when the Timberwolves needed him to do so. He scored 27 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter or overtime — hitting no shortage of big shots down the stretch.

“He was under control, wanted the ball, made big shots, calmed everybody down, myself included,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch told . “He was awesome tonight.”

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D’Angelo Russell made no shortage of key plays down the stretch for the Minnesota Timberwolves. While he’s known for his offensive impact, Russell made a very intelligent defensive play that led to a critical turnover from Tyrese Maxey.

The 76ers like to get Maxey driving hard right to the rim using ball screens, but sometimes he will throw the bounce pass back to Embiid who either pops or short rolls. Given how Joel Embiid finished with 42 points and 14 rebounds, it was very likely the ball was headed his way once again.

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Russell picked up on this tendency and kept his hands low to be able to break up the exchange. He kept his hand low to anticipate the bounce pass behind made to Embiid from Maxey and came up with the steal — resulting in a transition opportunity

”I wanted to adjust because they kept running that same play,” Russell said. ”I just tried to keep my hand down there and anticipate the bounce pass and we got it when it mattered. (On the assist), I saw him running and saw the clock. We could put the pressure on them and get a layup and (Prince) is more than capable of making a layup, and he happened to make one of the most important ones of the game. It’s just trusting teammates.”

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D’Angelo Russell has stepped up after starting the 2021-22 season off to a slow pace. He is averaging 21.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 6.3 assists over the last eight games. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves seventh in the Western Conference standings.

“It’s just a huge win for us to come into Philly, take it from their home court,” Russell told Bally Sports North after the game. “We got guys haven’t played. They had guys that sat out. They thought it was sweet to come back and play against us. It ain’t sweet. We trying to put the league on notice, one game at a time, one practice at a time. Never too, never too low.”

The Timberwolves can always expect strong play from Karl-Anthony Towns and he has delivered during that same stretch — averaging 24.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists with impressive efficiency. Anthony Edwards has been effective in his own right as he’s put up 19.0 points per game over the last eight games, too.

It has been a challenge for the Minnesota Timberwolves to not only get D’Angelo Russell and Karl-Anthony Towns on the floor at the same time. However, having them each firing on all cylinders at the same time has been rare since one of them seems to usually be working their way back from something. Lately, that hasn’t been the case and the results have shown.