Jordan McLaughlin set a couple of firsts Saturday in Minnesota’s 129-117 home win over Houston.
The reserve point guard tallied 11 assists while committing no turnovers, making him the first bench player in the NBA this season with such numbers. He is also the first player in Timberwolves history to post double-digit assists and zero turnovers off the bench in multiple games. McLaughlin also had a similar performance in a road win over the Kings last February.
Minnesota continues to play its best basketball with McLaughlin on the floor — a truth that carried over from the end of last season. Entering Monday’s game against the New York Knicks, the Timberwolves were outscoring opponents by 20.1 points per 100 possessions when the 26-year-old guard is on the floor.
Minnesota has outscored opponents by 61 points this year with McLaughlin in action. That’s the best plus-minus in the NBA among players from teams that don’t currently sport above-.500 records.
Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said what’s grown in McLaughlin’s game is his consistency.
“Being able to do it, and then being able to do it every time on the floor, that’s when you become a player in this league,” Finch said. “Whether it’s a superstar who can do something at a highly repeatable level that can’t be stopped or whether it’s a role player where you know exactly what you’re going to get when you go in there every night, and that’s what J-Mac has become. The effect it has on our team is very, very contagious. He’s one of those guys that just digs the ball out of nothing and makes these plays when you need him to. He’s one of our best multiple-effort guys, and (Saturday) I thought he was really, really good at driving again, getting multiple attacks in there, putting pressure on the rim in a multitude of ways.”
Consistency is the point guard’s biggest point of emphasis early this season.
“Coming in consistently, picking up full, trying to change the pace of the game, change the flow of it, get guys open shots, run our offense and be a pest on defense,” McLaughlin said.
Thus far, that’s exactly what he’s brought on a nightly basis.
Gobert still out
Center Rudy Gobert missed his second straight game Monday while remaining in health and safety protocols.
The Timberwolves’ 8:15 p.m. tipoff Monday against New York was part of the NBA’s initiative to raise awareness about Tuesday’s election day. The League did not schedule any games for Tuesday, instead having all 30 teams play Monday night. All 15 games were staggered to start at different times, with tipoffs taking place in 15-minute increments. Fans were able to watch all 15 games for free on the NBA app.