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Basketball

Wolves 126 – Warriors 114: Hope Blooms

Maybe it’s the oncoming Spring or the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel of the pandemic, however issues started to really feel a bit extra regular on the Goal Middle tonight. There was one thing oddly comforting about sitting within the enviornment and listening to a random fan yell out to the refs to allow them to know that they suck. Or the unsurprising shock when it appeared like there have been extra Warrior followers (or not less than louder ones) than Wolves followers.

However there’s something not regular taking place. The Wolves are successful.

This win was a stable effort from top-to-bottom on the roster. Every participant had their second, whether or not it was Juancho Hernangomez hitting necessary threes, Naz Reid rolling into the paint, Josh Okogie flying round following Steph Curry, or Jaden McDaniels effortlessly switching from Draymond Inexperienced onto Curry and again once more in the identical possession. Oh, and Ricky Rubio was the Wolves main scorer with 26 factors, taking pictures 5 of 8 from deep. Rubio was unimaginable this sport, notably within the second half.

Karl-Anthony Cities was the steadying power the complete sport, forcing his technique to the rim and nailing threes. Cities was clearly pissed off by the dearth of foul calls many of the sport and picked up a technical foul early on. However KAT nonetheless received to the road 10 instances and produced an unimaginable all-around efficiency with 22 factors, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Now we have seen how this group utterly falls aside with out Cities and nights like tonight simply additional solidify how he acts as a tentpole for this roster.

This was not a fantastic D’Angelo Russell sport nor will the performances tonight douse the flames of the Andrew Wiggins – Russell swap from final yr. Russell was unable to get a lot happening offense, however did lead an enormous run within the first quarter with the second unit. It stays outstanding to observe Wiggins on the Warriors, because the system caters so explicitly to what Wiggins is finest at, however nothing else. He poured in 27 factors, most early on, and had some large drives within the fourth quarter. Whereas he had three assists, his playmaking leash is so restricted, it typically felt like Wiggins would by no means take greater than three dribbles at a time.

The Warriors have been all the time enjoying from behind after the Wolves went on a run within the first quarter. There are moments when every thing clicks and they’re proper again to the dominating group of outdated. A Curry- Draymond Inexperienced will occur lightning-fast, leaving Inexperienced with a wide-open lane to the rim. Or Curry will drive to the rim, cross out to the perimeter, then relocate behind a display screen for an open three with 4 defenders speeding at him. Curry had a transcendent third quarter tonight, which buoyed his 37 factors. However exterior of that quarter, the Wolves efficiently hounded him with a mixture of Okogie, Rubio, and McDaniels.

The moments when every thing doesn’t click on, and the Warriors are vestiges of an empire, as kick-outs to wide-open shooters flip into airballs and clanks.

However the highlights of tonight belong to Anthony Edwards. After a reasonably pedestrian first half, Ant exploded within the fourth quarter, scoring 18 of his 25 factors. I’m pretty sure he scored 10 factors within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter after which put the sport away with two unimaginable drives.

Ant’s confidence and assuredness are outstanding. It has been such a pleasure to observe him develop all through the course of the season and it’s arduous to not really feel that we’re watching a celebrity develop.

This group’s progress is what issues. They’re proving that they are often aggressive on a nightly foundation and that they’re constructing a sustainable future. The lottery balls will fall the place they could, but when the Wolves preserve this up, they may be capable of show that they’re counting on extra than simply religion.

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