The Wolves beat the Heat 125-122 in overtime on Monday night. The game, in Miami, was one full of uncertainty and plenty of highlights. Here are three observations from a win that moved the Wolves to 4-3 on the season.
Veterans Making A Difference
With the win, the Wolves are now 4-0 in one-possession games after going 7-13 in such games last season. The difference? Experience and leadership. Guys who have been there before. In last night’s win, we saw Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford make critical plays for the team down the stretch.
Considering how tight we think the Western Conference is going to be this year, the games that could go either way are incredibly crucial for the Wolves, a team hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003-04.
The Wolves are 4-3 and tied with four other teams for fifth place in the West.
Jeff Teague Has His Best Game With Wolves
This is going to be fun.
We’ll cover this a bit more in another piece, but Jeff Teague was great in his seventh game with the club.
Teague finished with 23 points, 11 assists, six steals and five rebounds while shooting 3-for-5 from the 3-point line (exactly why the Wolves brought him in) and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.
The one-time All-Star probably didn’t get off to the start we all thought he would, but Teague has never had the scoring options on his team like he does with the Wolves. It was going to take a little time to get used to all of that.
Maybe he has. In his last three games, Teague is averaging 19.3 points, nine assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals while shooting 54 percent from the 3-point line. We’ll see if he can keep it up on Wednesday against Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans.
The Stats Aren’t There Yet, But Wolves Winning With Butler
Minnesota is now 4-1 with Jimmy Butler in the lineup and 0-2 without him.
Butler’s stats aren’t what they have been, and like Teague, they won’t be right away as he tries to find his role offensively for this team.
Against Miami, Butler finished with 16 points, five rebounds, three steals and three assists. Not great, but a win for the Wolves is all that matters.
On the season, Butler is averaging 16.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. Not what we’re used to from him, but he’s also give the Wolves a sense of toughness when he’s in that we haven’t seen in quite some time.
The Wolves are back at it Wednesday in New Orleans against the Pelicans. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports North and WCCO 830-AM.