Final Score: Timberwolves: 101, Pacers: 91
The Timberwolves played defense. This is not a drill. The Minnesota Timberwolves played defense. Minnesota held Indiana to 91 points, the first time the Wolves have held an opponent under 100 points on the season. Tonight is something to build upon in terms of defense.
The Wolves are a playoff team with Jimmy Butler. With the win over the Pacers, Minnesota moves to 2-1 with Butler. Had Butler played on Saturday against the Mavericks, the Wolves would likely be holding a 3-1 record. However, without Butler, the Wolves are an average at best team.
Josh Okogie played terrific. Okogie’s energy on defense alone makes him valuable off the bench. With Wiggins going down with an injury, Okogie got a chance to show out, and make hustle and effort plays on the defensive end. However, Okogie has work to do on the offensive end. The rookie was 5-13 from the field tonight, including 1-6 from three. He forced the ball too much on offense, but the defense alone made him a big part of the winning effort tonight.
Timberwolves have a defensive rebounding problem. Indiana recorded 12 offensive rebounds tonight, compared to Minnesota’s 8 offensive rebounds. For Minnesota, it will need to be a team effort on the defensive glass, and if they don’t correct the mistakes, it will cost them games, like it already has.
Taj Gibson is as steady as the come. With 13 points and 8 rebounds, Gibson once again showed his value to Minnesota. Gibson is the most consistent Timberwolves player on the roster. The team knows what they will be getting each and every night.
Victor Oladipo struggled. Oladipo failed to get calls in the paint tonight, only shooting four free throws. The Wolves did a great job of walling up on Oladipo in the paint and defending without fouling.
The Pacers shot 11-16 from the charity stripe. Compared to Minnesota’s 22 points at the free-throw line, it’s hard to win games when the opposing team doubles your point total at the line.
Bojan Bogdanovic was terrific. Recording 20 points on 8-12 shooting from the field and 4-5 from three, Bogdanovic gave the Pacers a great punch on offense, on a night they didn’t produce much offense.
The Pacers bench was less than spectacular. Indiana’s bench was outscored 43-21. Nobody on the Pacers’ bench had a great night, and it’s hard to win games in the NBA with that little of bench production.