Wolves shooting worse in playoffs. So why is the offense better?

In the regular season, the Timberwolves had the No. 1 defense in the league. So far in the playoffs, it's the other side of the ball that is outpacing their opponents.

So far this postseason, the Wolves have the most efficient offense in the league at 123.2 points per 100 possessions, according to

During the regular season, the Wolves ranked 17th in offensive rating at 114.6.

What is behind this offensive outburst?

The Wolves are actually shooting worse than they were during the regular season — their effective field-goal percentage is down to .548 from .559.

Instead, the Wolves have shown significant improvement on the offensive glass. They are the No. 1 offensive rebounding team in the playoffs at .392, outpacing the Knicks at .304. That means the Wolves got nearly 40% of all available offensive rebounds in the first round against Phoenix. That's up from their regular season mark of 27.5%.

One reason for that improvement is the increased production from forward Jaden McDaniels. McDaniels averaged 0.8 offensive rebounds during the regular season. That was up to three per game against Phoenix as the Wolves placed an emphasis for McDaniels to crash the offensive glass. They even ran him through football style drills before the series, coach Chris Finch said after McDaniels scored 25 points in a 105-93 victory in Game 2.

"We got to win, just doing anything to win," McDaniels said. "[Finch] be on me the whole regular season about offensive rebounds."

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The Wolves were able to take advantage of a Suns team that was undersized against them and ranked 20th in defensive rebounding during the regular season. The Nuggets ranked 15th in that statistic and would seem to have some more bulk inside thanks to 6-11 center Nikola Jokic and 6-8 forward Aaron Gordon. Michael Porter Jr. at small forward also checks in at 6-10.

But the Wolves have talked about using their size to make teams adjust to them, so expect them to keep being aggressive in attacking the offensive glass, even as a way to mitigate opponents in transition.

Game 1 is Saturday

With the Nuggets winning their first-round series from the Lakers in five games, Game 1 of the second round will be Saturday night in Denver and televised on TNT.

What time the game starts depends on how the other playoff series go. If the Wolves-Nuggets game is the only playoff game Saturday, it will start at 6 p.m. If there are any other games Saturday — a Philadelphia-New York Game 7, an Indiana-Milwaukee Game 7 or both — the game will start at 8:30 p.m.

Game 2 is Monday night in Denver, then the teams will have a three-day break before Game 3 is at Target Center on Friday. Game 4 is Sunday. No times have been announced for any other games in the series.

Wolves on his mind

Nuggets coach Michael Malone quickly turned his attention to the second round after Monday's 108-106 victory in Game 5, secured when Jamal Murray hit a jumper with 3.6 seconds left. Murray scored 32 points, playing more than 40 minutes despite being listed as questionable because of a calf strain.

"Now we can try to get ready for Saturday against a beast in Minnesota," Malone said in his postgame news conference. "… Minnesota was the No. 1 team in the West for most of the year. It's going to be a hard-fought series, and I'm sure they're going to want revenge from last season."