Seven players finished in double figures for the Milwaukee Bucks as they defeated the Timberwolves 102-95 to claim their sixth straight win.
The victory gives the Bucks the longest active win streak in the NBA and also a firm grasp on the eighth seed, as a loss would’ve seen Miami take their place.
With so many players contributing to the win, Bucks coach Jason Kidd was content with the performance and effort all-around.
He said: “It’s always great when you can have everyone score ten points. The big thing is these guys fought, again there’s a lot of tired bodies in that locker room. Nobody quit.
“I know things went wrong for us on the offensive end. Guys stuck together, played defence and came out with some big stops.
“The trust level right now is extremely high and we need to keep that up going forward.”
It was always going to be difficult for either side to build a sustainable lead as it was the second night of a back-to-back for both squads.
And Karl-Anthony Towns’ 35 points and 14 rebounds weren’t enough to get the win for Minnesota who are still in the hunt for the eighth seed in the West.
It came down to the wire with the Bucks leading by four points with less than a minute remaining but an ill-advised three from Wiggins essentially killed whatever hope Minnesota still had.
Head coach Jason Kidd was once again impressed with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s defence as he played the final five minutes with five fouls.
“It’s huge. When you look at what he can do defensively. Changing shots, rebounding the ball and playing with five fouls. Again, it just shows that he’s starting to understand the game at a higher level.”
And Kidd is confident that his team can win games on both ends of the floor.
“Holding a very talented team like Minnesota to under 100 points just shows that we can rely on our defence.We got six stops in a row down the stretch and they didn’t even attempt a shot on a couple of those possessions. It just shows how much confidence we have in our defence.”
“We got six stops in a row down the stretch and they didn’t even attempt a shot on a couple of those possessions. It just shows how much confidence we have in our defence.”
The Bucks needed stops but struggled at the beginning of the second quarter as the Timberwolves began with a 10-2 run, with eight of those points coming from Karl-Anthony Towns.
The 21-year-old now has 20 straight games with at least 20 points, eclipsing teammate Andrew Wiggins’ previous record for Minnesota.
A timeout from Jason Kidd slowed the Timberwolves momentum and the Bucks went on a 7-0 run of their own, punctuated by a Matthew Dellavedova three and John Henson dunk through traffic.
The Aussie finished with 16 points off 4/7 shooting from downtown and credited the Greek Freak for his easy points.
“Giannis was finding me, obviously he draws a lot of attention. He was firing that thing around and it was good to hit that one at the end of the half to give us a bit of momentum.
“I think tonight it was out defence and rebounding that really allowed us to get the win.
“We had contributions from a lot of guys, it was a real team win… It was a good win for us over a team who’s on the rise and trying to make the playoffs too.”
The Bucks now embark on a seven-game West coast road trip, highlighted by clashes against Golden State and the LA Clippers.
The Timberwolves meanwhile will host the Wizards on Monday night.