Timberwolves use unique lineup to defeat Thunder for second
ผู้เขียน: | เวลา:2022-11-19 05:56 | เรียกดู:

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With Oklahoma City making a push in the second half, Chris Finch used a lineup featuring Anthony Edwards and four members of the bench to turn things around.

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Coach Chris Finch said in training camp that the basic philosophy guiding the Wolves rotations was to have one of either Karl-Anthony Towns or Rudy Gobert on the floor at all times.

On Sunday night in Oklahoma City, some foul trouble to Anthony Edwards altered the rotations, and Finch deployed a lineup in the fourth that featured neither Towns nor Gobert.

That lineup broke open a close game and allowed the Wolves to cruise to a 116-106 victory over the Thunder.

The lineup of Edwards, Jordan McClaughlin, Taurean Prince, Jaylen Nowell and Naz Reid took an eight-point lead to open the fourth quarter and expanded it to 22 with a 24-10 run. The Wolves (2-1) had hit just four three-pointers headed into the fourth quarter but hit six during that stretch alone.Edwards finished with 30 points for the second consecutive game and had 11 rebounds.

That lineup, we just sharing the ball, Edwards said. We dont care whos shooting. Its just fun out there, man. I love to see my teammates shine, man. I dont mind passing the ball for open shots. That five on the floor is the same way.

Nowell finished with 14 points, Prince had 11 while McLaughlin didnt score but was a team-high plus-23 for the night.

The other standout performance in that lineup was from Reid, who didnt play before checking in late in the third quarter. This encapsulates what Reids role as the third center on the roster will likely be playing behind two All-Stars inconsistent playing time, nights he doesnt play, but could be called to produce on a moments notice. He handled that with aplomb Sunday in scoring 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting in his 13 minutes.

Its tough. You try to cheer on your teammates and things like that. It gets tough, but its all part of the process, Reid said of his role. Ive been in worse predicaments before, and Im able to tough it out and do what I do. At the end of the day everybody on the team believes in me, and thats the biggest thing, that they all support me.

That confidence showed in Reids efficient night. Edwards was in disbelief as he looked at the box score when asked to talk about Reids night.

I just told him in the locker room, You nice, Naz. You nice,  Edwards said. I dont think I have that in me to come in a game when I havent played the entire game, and I go 5-for-7 and score 14 points. I havent seen anybody like Naz in a minute.

As for the rest of the starters, Gobert finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds while Karl-Anthony Towns had 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The other four starters besides Edwards sat the entire fourth quarter, which was helpful for the Wolves given they play again Monday at home against San Antonio. Luguentz Dort had 20 points for Oklahoma City, which was without guard Shai Gilgegous-Alexander (hip) and lost guard Josh Giddey (ankle) during the game.

Finch didnt want to commit to that fourth-quarter lineup becoming a regular thing. Instead, he said rotations are pretty fluid.

We have a lot of guys that can play and help us in different ways, Finch said. So were not set in anything right now. Were going to continue to work through those situations until we feel like we have combinations of guys that we like rather than a whole lineup.

Sunday, he found an entire lineup, and just let them ride to the Wolves first easy victory of the season.

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.

Edwards looking for a rhythm in new-look Timberwolves lineupThe third-year guard is learning to play alongside Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns and he said for now he is more comfortable playing in smaller lineups.

Chris Hineis the Timberwolves reporter at the Star Tribune.

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