The Minnesota Timberwolves will be without Karl-Anthony Towns for the next two games after his brawl with Joel Embid, but as they headed out to Washington to take on the Wizards on Saturday night, the absence of their franchise player didn't seem to be a problem as they destroyed the Wizards by a score of 131-109.
To replace Towns in the lineup, the Timberwolves relied on a complete team effort that helped Minnesota come out of the gates with a 13-5 run to open the game and never look back.
The most notable group of players that stepped up came in the frontcourt as Gorgui Dieng got the start in place of Towns and turned in his best effort of the season. The 29-year old scored 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds against Washington, but his effort was backed up with a strong overall performance from the bench.
Jake Layman would lead the charge off the pine, scoring a season-high 14 points and strong efforts from Noah Vonleh and Jordan Bell would reduce the sting of losing Towns. With first-round pick Jarret Culver stepping up for a career-high 20 points, the Timberwolves bench would combine to deliver 53 points and 21 rebounds on the night.
That contribution from the bench would be key on a night where the starters also did their job where four of five starters scored in double figures. That included a strong night from Andrew Wiggins, who scored a team-high 21 points with five rebounds and six assists.
With a full team effort, the Timberwolves would jump out to a 70-56 lead at halftime and blow the game open with a 36-16 advantage in the third quarter. Although Bradley Beal would lead the Wizards with 30 points, the hole was too big to climb out of as Minnesota improved to 4-1 on the season.
While the Wolves didn't seem to have many issues without Towns against the Wizards, their next game will be a bigger test as they host the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night at Target Center.