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BBNBA: Towns and Monk Post Impressive Numbers

(NBAE | Getty Images)

Good afternoon, folks. Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves are on the brink of being a good basketball team (or maybe they already are?) Let’s talk NBA.

RECAP

Towns and Wiggins Destroy Spurs

  • For just the third time in the last decade, the Minnesota Timberwolves are above .500 10 games into the season. After a 129-114 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night, the Wolves move to 7-4 on the season and tied for fifth in the Western Conference.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns went off for a BBNBA-high of 28 points in addition to 11 rebounds, four assists, and two steals while his teammate Andrew Wiggins added 30 points on 12-23 shooting. It was the third straight game in which both Towns and Wiggins poured in at least 25 points apiece. Minnesota is 2-1 in those games with the only loss coming in overtime against the Denver Nuggets. The Wolves are fun! The Spurs have also lost five of its last six and uncharacteristically boast one of the worst defenses in the NBA. The Spurs are bad!

  • San Antonio continues to slot Trey Lyles as the small-ball forward next to LaMarcus Aldridge in the starting lineup. Against the Wolves, Lyles did not register a point in 22 minutes, however, he did snag 11 rebounds and dished out three dimes. His shooting numbers are actually some of the best of his career thus far, but his volume has been drastically cut. Lyles is attempting only 3.7 shots per game, the lowest since his rookie season when he got off 5.5 shots per game.

Malik Monk keeps improving

  • Malik Monk is having the best stretch of his NBA career in terms of efficiency. While his three-point percentage has dipped down to below 30 percent on the season, his overall field goal percentage has skyrocketed from 38 percent last season to over 48 percent in 2019-20. On Wednesday, he posted a season-high of 20 points while contributing eight rebounds and five assists, as well.

  • So what’s he doing differently? For starters, he’s become a threat as a passer out of the pick-and-roll and on the drive. But most importantly, Monk is confident when driving to the rim. He attempted only 14 percent of his shots at the rim in his rookie season, which he bumped up to 25 percent last year. This season, he’s brought that mark up to 36 percent of his shots coming at the rim and he’s converting on those shots at a 67 percent clip compared to just 59 percent last season.
  • But a lot of Monk’s improvement is based on simply hitting shots he typically missed. He’s taking the exact same amount of mid-range jumpers as his first two seasons, he’s just hitting them at an insane rate. Only 22 percent of Monk’s shots this season have come from the mid-range, the same number as last season. The difference is he’s converting them at a 61 percent clip (ranking him in the 100th percentile among all NBA wing players) compared to just 28 percent a year ago. That’s a massive year-over-year improvement and I’m interested to see if he can keep it up. [Stats via Cleaning the Glass]
  • The Hornets barely lost, despite Monk’s efforts (and Terry Rozier’s 33 points, which tied his career-high), to the Memphis Grizzlies, 119-117. We have the Point God, Ja Morant, to thank for thatP.J. Washington appeared in 26 minutes for the Hornets but finished the game with just five points and three rebounds on 2-7 shooting.

Other notes

  • Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo both sat out the Los Angeles Lakers second night of a back-to-back against the Golden State Warriors. Davis is dealing with a minor rib injury he sustained against the Phoenix Suns the night before while Rondo’s absence was more due to rest and easing the point guard back into play after missing the first nine games of the season.
  • The Warriors still lost in spectacular fashion, 124-90, because the Lakers still have a guy by the name of LeBron James. Willie Cauley-Stein added 10 points, five rebounds, and three assists for Golden State.
  • Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter played his in his second consecutive game after missing seven straight due to injury. He registered only five minutes in his return but played 25 minutes on Wednesday in the Celtics 140-133 win over the Washington Wizards. Kanter posted 13 points on 4-5 shooting with nine rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
  • Check out the full stat sheet below.

STATISTICS

PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)129-114 W vs. SAS287-15 (3-9)114202+1930
Malik Monk (CHA)117-119 L vs. MEM208-13 (1-2)85011+529
Enes Kanter (BOS)140-133 W vs. WAS134-5 (0-0)92101+1125
Willie Cauley-Stein (GSW)94-120 L @ LAL105-7 (0-0)53020-1422
P.J. Washington Jr. (CHA)117-119 L vs. MEM52-7 (1-4)31020+226
Patrick Patterson (LAC)93-102 L @ HOU00-010001-124
Trey Lyles (SAS)114-129 L @ MIN00-2 (0-1)113103-222
Skal Labissiere (POR)106-114 L vs. TOR00-3 (0-0)94002-218
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (CHA)117-119 L vs. MEMDNP-CD----------------
Anthony Davis (LAL)120-94 W vs. GSWDNP-Rib/Shoulder----------------
Rajon Rondo (LAL)120-94 W vs. GSWDNP-Calf----------------
John Wall (WAS)133-140 L @ BOSDNP-Foot----------------

TONIGHT IN THE NBA

6:00: Heat (Adebayo, Herro-questionable) @ Cavaliers (Knight)

8:00 (TNT): Mavericks @ Knicks (Knox, Randle)

8:00: Bulls @ Bucks (Bledsoe) 

8:00: Clippers (Patterson) @ Pelicans (Miller-out)

9:00: Hawks @ Suns (Booker) 

10:30 (TNT): Nets @ Nuggets (Murray, Vanderbilt) 

Article written by Zack Geoghegan

Covering all things NBA. Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan