The Minnesota Timberwolves picked up another important win to keep pace in this relentless Western Conference race.
Their quest to end the franchise’s 14-year absence from the playoffs still isn’t finished.
Teague missed six of his first eight shots, but he helped the Wolves pull away with a four-point play in the early portion of the third quarter. His lob found Andrew Wiggins for a soaring dunk about three minutes later. Gorgui Dieng sank his second 3-pointer of the night soon after for a 75-63 lead. Butler gave the Wolves a 98-83 lead midway through the fourth quarter with a hustle to finish a fast break with a layup.
The Wolves brought energy and crisp ball movement, but they clearly carried some pressure with them during an ugly start filled with turnovers and misfires. They made only four of their first 16 shots from the field, and boos circulated in the arena as Omari Johnson’s jumper put the Grizzles in front 24-14. Butler missed a short bank shot as he was fouled and bricked the first free throw, too, causing him to growl in disgust as he reached the bench early in the second quarter.
The Wolves, though, used a 20-4 run to lighten the mood a little in the arena. Derrick Rose (13 points), Dieng (11 points) and Tyus Jones (eight points) combined to produce a solid output from the second unit.
That approach has been working so far.
“I’m feeling great now,” Smith said, via the team’s website. “Actually, I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve been in a while. I’ve taken this offseason to get back into it a little early and try to take care of my body a little more. I’m just doing the little small [rehab] things and I just feel awesome right now.”
There are several things that would aid the Cowboys offense in 2018, including having Ezekiel Elliott in the lineup for a full season. A healthy year for Smith is right at the top of the list as well, so people in Dallas will be hoping these early results foretell good things for the months to come.
Rest assured, the teams interested in drafting Jackson will make time to find out more about his special talents. The teams that are out on him won’t do their due diligence, anyway. Of course, the notion also could have been put out there by more than a few Jackson suitors in an effort to make him last longer on the board for their drafting purposes.