Certain kinds of NBA highlights can come from bad teams just as easily as they come from good ones. For example, very cool dunks depend more on having very athletic players than having good ones, and embarrassing bloopers are arguably better when All-Stars are responsible for them. All that matters is that the team or player involved do something buzzworthy for a few fleeting seconds.
Buzzer-beaters are similar. Yes, a team has to be fairly good to win a game, but a last-second shot is really just the difference between a narrow win and another loss for a bad one. And the relative ease of this accomplishment makes it relatively shocking that the Minnesota Timberwolves went nearly five years without one before Tuesday night’s game at the Phoenix Suns.
With six seconds remaining in regulation, Suns wing P.J. Tucker made two free throws to put his team up 111-110. That set up one last opportunity for the Wolves to win, and Andrew Wiggins did not waste it:
That tough make from Wiggins gave the Wolves a 112-111 victory and their first buzzer-beater since the 2011-12 season:
Andrew Wiggins with the 1st Timberwolves buzzer-beater since Luke Ridnour on February 22, 2012
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 25, 2017
Wiggins’s winner finished off an excellent night for the young wing — he had 31 points to lead six Wolves in double figures. More importantly, he gave the Wolves their sixth win in their last eight games to continue a run that has put them back in the race for the West’s final playoff spot.
At 17-28, the Wolves are still far off the expectations that followed this summer as head coach Tom Thibodeau prepared for his first season with the club. However, Minnesota is just 3 1/2 games off the No. 8 Denver Nuggets and can still salvage a measure of progress after a very disappointing start. Merely playing .500 ball the rest of the way could get them there.
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