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Timberwolves ground Rockets despite absence of Gobert


Houston, we have a problem. (Jordan Johnson/Getty Images)


The Timberwolves were able to get back on track last night against a sputtering Houston Rockets squad, besting the visitors129-117. The Rockets were without 3rd overall pick Jabari Smith Jr. and forward Jae'Sean Tate. The Wolves were also missing a key contributor in the NBA's leading rebounder, Rudy Gobert (13.9 rpg), who was placed in the league's health and safety protocols this weekend. It was Gobert's fellow big man Karl-Anthony Towns who led the way for the Wolves in the scoring column. KAT (25 points) was able to score at all three levels for the Wolves against a soft Houston defense. Anthony Edwards was able to hit his stride early in this one, and threw down his first two dunks of this season.

While the Wolves' franchise players unsurprisingly led the charge, this win wasn't a two-man show. Kyle Anderson, who signed a two-year deal in the offseason with the Timberwolves, had his best game as a Wolf yesterday with as well-rounded of a performance as one could ask for. Anderson scored 16 points on scorching efficiency (85.7%) and added 3 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals for good measure.

Anderson and Houston sophomore Alperen Şengün chat with a referee. (Stacy Bengs)


As a team, the Wolves looked much more like themselves. Minnesota scored 40 points in the first quarter, and capitalized on a young Rockets team by frequently scoring on fastbreaks and off of turnovers. Minnesota also shook off some more shooting rust, making 15 of their 33 three-point attempts.


While a win is welcome, Minnesota will look to continue to improve over the coming weeks. Already ten games into the season, the Wolves sit at an even 5-5, and will not have the luxury of playing weak teams frequently. For example, Chris Finch will need to continue to determine how to best play Rudy Gobert alongside the rest of the roster. Additionally, Finch has discussed how spacing has been a struggle for this Timberwolves team, and last night showed how spacing could unlock this team. In the next week, the Wolves will play the Knicks (Monday), Suns (Wednesday), Grizzlies (Friday) and Cavaliers (Sunday). This will be the most difficult stretch of games by far for the Wolves this season and should give a better idea of Minnesota's team identity.


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