Alexander Shun | @alexpshun
Digital Content Manager | KFAN.com
Don't look now but the Minnesota Timberwolves are one of the hotter teams in the NBA and they are beginning to make some noise. Particularly big man Karl-Anthony Towns.
"He's playing out of his mind right now," Andrew Wiggins said of Towns. "He's doing it all. Rebounding, scoring, defending, everything. There's nothing he's not doing right now."
Facing off against the Denver Nuggets, Towns went off for 32 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and he drilled the go-ahead bucket with 42.5 seconds remaining to give Minnesota a 111-108 victory over Denver.
Towns' monster game once again overshadowed a great game by Wiggins who added 24 points, four rebounds and four assists who is now averaging 21.8 points per game on the season.
Gary Harris led the Nuggets with 22 points, six rebounds and three assists while Nikola Jokic kicked in 18 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in Denver's loss.
The Timberwolves have now won five of their last seven games (including four-straight home games) and, despite still holding a dismal 16-28 record for the season, the team has shown definite signs of improvement and that is due in large part to the play of Tyus Jones and Kris Dunn.
"I thought the way Kris started the game was huge, and then of course Tyus down the stretch also," Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau said of his two young guards after the game Sunday. "I thought we got good minutes out of them last game too."
Dunn finished his night with 10 points, eight rebounds and nine assists while Jones chipped in nine points and four assists in 19 minutes off the bench. Both were playing so well that Thibodeau opted to keep both guards on the floor late in the game in a tight contest.
Thibodeau said that he likes the options and versatility that having both Dunn and Jones in the game provides.
"I like that look, I like what it does for us," Thibodeau said. "It gives us multiple guys who can go off the dribble and force a defense to collapse and then make a play."
Shabazz Muhammad continued his spectacular tear off the bench for the Timberwolves, pouring in 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting (64.3 percent), including going of 2-of-5 (40 percent) from beyond the arc while playing the entire fourth quarter.
Despite giving up 108 points to the Nuggets on Sunday, the young Timberwolves players are quickly learning that it's not so much their offense that will win them games as it is their defense, something many players spoke about after the game.
"Keep playing defense, that's what we're trying to preach. Just defense," Dunn said. "We know we can score the ball. We've got talented players. Just preach defense. Defense wins games and that's what we're trying to do."
"I think we're really starting to learn," Muhammad said. "Especially in the last minute, we just made some really nice defensive stops. We're really doing it at that end even though all game we couldn't really lock down, [but] we got the stops we needed and it really helped us out a lot."
Minnesota will look to continue their recent run of success as they now head to Phoenix Tuesday night to take on the Suns, a team they have already beaten twice this season.