Magic use dominant fourth quarter to dominate Timberwolves | Sports


MINNEAPOLIS – Even in a loss to the Pelicans earlier this season, the familiar sense of fear that something was going to go wrong was absent from Target Center. This fear has made its way to Target Center and comes up often when Wolves face a team they should beat.

Wolves led most of Monday night’s game against the Magic, who had lost six of their first seven games, but they weren’t winning as they should. The offense was erratic, as it has been, and Wolves left an inferior opponent hanging out in the middle of a lifeless crowd – until that opponent eventually passed them.

If Wolves have plans on a place for the play-ins or play-offs, nights like Monday can’t happen when Wolves lost another winnable home game to Orlando 115-97.

The loss was costly in another department as D’Angelo Russell came out at halftime with a sprained right ankle after going 1 for 8. There was no immediate word on status. of Russell in the future.

Cole Anthony, who hit a buzzer batsman for a win last season at Target Center, caught fire for Orlando in the fourth quarter as the Magic tried to pass a disinterested Wolves team to walk away. After barely leading the other three quarters, Orlando barely trailed in the fourth.

Anthony hit his first four shots of the quarterback, while Mo Wagner hit a pair of threes and landed a thunderous dunk on Jarred Vanderbilt that put an exclamation mark on the night for Orlando.

Anthony finished with 31 points while Wagner had 28. Jalen Suggs from Minnehaha Academy started and scored 12 points on his return home. Mo Bamba added 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Anthony Edwards had 24 for Wolves while Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and 15 rebounds.

One of the emphasis coach Chris Finch placed on Wolves this offseason was to reduce the number of faults in defense. The first quarter was not the kind of quarter Finch had in mind.

Wolves committed nine fouls and Jaden McDaniels made three. This put the Magic in the bonus early on and allowed him to hang around despite shooting just 6 of 19.

Orlando made 12 of 15 in the row to stay in 32-26 after the first.

Wolves stopped fouling in the second quarter and, at least momentarily, they regained control of the game. A 10-3 run gave them a 44-31 lead at the 7-minute, 27-second mark as Edwards hit a three, got a layup in transition and Wolves forced nine turnovers over the course of of the quarter.

The offense stalled for the next 4:25 and only scored two points in that span. This gap allowed the Magic to equalize the score. The first half was also physical for Wolves, who had previously lost Patrick Beverley due to left calf pain. Towns momentarily left the bench area after he treated an apparent painful right thumb.

Bamba gave Reid a forearm shiver as he walked down the line, though Reid returned. Russell then left the game at halftime due to a sprained right ankle and did not return.

Jordan McLaughlin took over as point guard to start the second half and Wolves and Wolves reduced their lead to double digits. But Wolves just couldn’t execute on offense consistently enough. The defense was showing, but it failed in the fourth, when Orlando scored 43.

Orlando continued to reduce the Wolves’ lead in the fourth quarter and eventually took an 83-79 as Cole Anthony hit back-to-back 3s for Finch to call the time-out. Nothing helped. Wolves have intended to take a leap forward this season. Monday showed that they had not taken off.

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