Timberwolves Hold Off Rockets; Climb Back Up West Standings

Anthony Edwards, Mike Conley, Minnesota Timberwolves, Houston Rockets
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Timberwolves need all the wins they can get, to finish off the 2023-24 season, if they want to gain one of the two top spots in the Western Conference. And while it wasn’t easy, they added another notch in the W column on Tuesday with a 113-106 victory over the Houston Rockets.

It wasn’t the prettiest game of the season but the Wolves led for most of three quarters, even in one of Anthony Edwards’ worst games of the season. Ant was 5-of-16 (0-for-6 from 3PT) on the night but hit all nine of his free throws and still managed 19 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

Anthony Edwards comes through late on another tough night

And when Houston made a late surge in the 4th quarter to cut the Wolves’ lead to one point, it was Ant who found his way to the rim (thanks to some help from teammates) and finished the Rockets with two highlight reel dunks in the last minute of play. The final exclamation point came off his own steal.

There are positives and negatives to take away from Ant’s performance tonight. First, the positive: I love that Anthony Edwards is always searching for ways to help the Wolves win, whether that comes with 50 points on offense or, on nights like tonight when he can’t get anything to fall, he closes the game late at the rim, from the free throw line and on defense.

Nonetheless, it is a bit concerning that two games in a row now, Ant has struggled to shoot the ball effectively. You saw his line from the field tonight, as noted above. But tonight was the 2nd-straight off night for Edwards. He went 9-for-20 from the field (0-for-5 from 3PT) vs the Bulls on Sunday too. Yes, that means Ant is 0-for-11 in his last two games from deep.

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Jace Frederick (Pioneer Press) seemed to ring the alarm a little bit on Anthony Edwards having a fatigue problem and it certainly looked that way again on Tuesday. Do the Wolves need to rest Ant? Maybe… but it’s hard to see him taking a night off when the Wolves are jockeying for the No. 1 seed with only seven games left to play.

Naz Reid led all Wolves scorers with 25 points. He’s been even more phenomenal since entering the starting lineup. Kyle Anderson has flourished since Karl-Anthony Towns went out with his torn meniscus too. He was nearing triple-double territory tonight, posting 13 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds in one of his best performances of the season.

Minnesota Timberwolves climb standings after OKC loss

Want even more good news? The Oklahoma City Thunder lost tonight, meaning the Timberwolves jumped back over them in the chase for the No. 1 seed. If the Denver Nuggets were to lose vs the San Antonio Spurs in their late game, Minnesota would reclaim the No. 1 spot for the night.

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Seem like an unlikely outcome but the contest is currently tight with time running out in the 3rd quarter. Either way, the Wolves will have one more shot at Denver and own the tiebreaker in that matchup. Again, seven games remain on the regular season. Playoffs begin on April 20 (the play-in starts on April 16).

RkTeamRecordGB
1Nuggets53-23
2Timberwolves52-230.5
3Thunder52-230.5
4Clippers47-275
5Mavericks45-297
6Pelicans45-307.5
7Suns44-318.5
8Kings43-319
9Lakers43-3310
10Warriors40-3412
Western Conference Standings
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