The Timberwolves didn’t lack for effort and intensity on the second night of a back-to-back with a severely shorthanded roster.
Minnesota was without four of its five starters, with Patrick Beverley returning to action. Naz Reid also returned to action from health and safety protocols.
Anthony Edwards and Taurean Prince have completed their quarantine time and are ramping up to likely returns Thursday in Utah. The Timberwolves’ roster is, potentially, nearing a return to something that resembles its traditional form.
But for at least one more night Tuesday, it was the reserves’ time to shine. And they went down swinging.
Minnesota fell 96-88 to the New York Knicks at Target Center.
The Timberwolves simply couldn’t find enough buckets to pull the game out. Perhaps that’s to be expected when you don’t have Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. The Wolves found a way to score enough against Boston to still get it done, but their offensive struggles were too much to overcome Tuesday.
Jaden McDaniels was great on that end, finishing with 18 points on 7 for 11 shooting. But he didn’t have much help.
The Wolves went 7 for 38 from deep. Beverley went 0 for 8 from the field in his return. Malik Beasley was 8 for 23 from the field, and 4 for 16 from deep. One night after leading the offensive charge, Jaylen Nowell was just 5 for 14 from the field, and 1 for 7 from long range.
To the Wolves’ credit, they stayed in the contest throughout. Minnesota held New York to 41 percent shooting. Every time the Knicks (16-18) built a double-digit advantage, Minnesota responded. The Wolves (16-18) stayed within arm’s reach to the end. They just could never hit the one big shot to bring themselves all the way back.
Trailing by six with 40 seconds to play, Minnesota generated another open look for Beasley from three. Had it fallen, the Wolves would’ve had life. It clanked off the back iron. Story of the night for the Wolves.
But offensive help is on the way.