The Minnesota Timberwolves are still in need of taking minutes away from their starting lineup and some of those minutes should be given to Jamal Crawford.
Only three members of the Minnesota Timberwolves scored in the fourth quarter of the team’s come from behind victory over the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night. Two of the three are not that shocking being Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns. The other might be a little more surprising in it being Jamal Crawford.
Crawford is a really good player, obviously, but he has struggled at times to get a boatload of minutes or at least the minutes he has been used to throughout his storied NBA career. Crawford’s minutes increased on Monday night up to 23 minutes and it paid off with the veteran guard scoring 23 points, 16 of which came in the fourth quarter.
Crawford looked like a determined man on Monday night to help dominate the game for the Timberwolves. This comes after recent days of murmurs of conversation about Crawford not getting the minutes he is accustomed to and probably deserves. Crawford played so well that he kept a struggling Andrew Wiggins off the court for a good majority of the fourth quarter and was also kept on the court in a lineup late in the game that featured Towns, Butler, Wiggins and Teague.
The Timberwolves need to get minutes off of some of their starters to help them survive the long NBA season. Head coach Tom Thibodeau started going down that path a couple games ago with the emergence of Marcus Georges-Hunt and now an increase of minutes for Crawford would help the process out, too.
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Let’s face it, Crawford is the best thing the Wolves have going for them on their bench right now. Crawford was the only bench player to score against the Trailblazers. Crawford and Butler were the only Timberwolves to score more than 16 points in the game.
Butler tried to carry the team, even with his bad back, but his 37 points would not have been enough without a stellar performance from Crawford. Crawford doesn’t need to be in the starting lineup, but he does need to be close to starting minutes.
Maybe the big three the Timberwolves thought they had will be featuring Butler, Towns and Crawford. Crazier things have happened in the world of Minnesota sports.
The Minnesota Timberwolves head on to the road for their next game in their first matchup of the year with the Denver Nuggets. The two face off on Wednesday evening.