The Golden State Warriors received encouraging news ahead of their contest against the Minnesota Timberwolves when it was announced that D'Angelo Russell would return to action after missing three games with an ankle injury.
While the headline was set to be a matchup between best friends in Russell and Timberwolves' All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota's Canadian forward Andrew Wiggins (Toronto, ON) stole the spotlight from his teammate.
Russell still put on a show in his return - in his first game as the sole All-Star in the driver's seat of the Warriors' offence, he exploded for a career-game.
The recently healthy guard didn't get out of the gate shooting the lights out or anything like that. With just 17 points and a one-point lead at halftime, Russell was having a modest peformance. Meanwhile, Wiggins was pacing the Timberwolves offence to keep up with Russell, scoring 16 points on 14 shots to keep Minnesota close.
After the half, Russell began to heat up. Only needing two quarters to get into a groove the 23-year-old dropped 28 points in the second half, surpassing his former career-high of 44 points with a clutch bucket late in the fourth quarter to seemingly put the game out of reach for the Timberwolves.
Minnesota was able to give themselves a chance trailing by two with the game on the line and Wiggins - who had 12 points and two assists in the fourth quarter to keep his team in the game - came up clutch as he did many times in the contest.
CLUTCH WIGGS pic.twitter.com/8U7ABM6uEq- Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 9, 2019
In overtime, the duel continued.
Wiggins scored or assisted on the Timberwolves' first six points of overtime, setting the tone for the extra period. Russell stepped up with a pair of huge 3-pointers a few minutes later to bring the Warriors within one with under a minute to play, but Minnesota's 24-year-old forward put the nail in the coffin with another clutch 3-pointer to give himself 40 points on the night,
LORDY LORDY THAT'S FORTY FOR @22WIGGINS pic.twitter.com/sbkNsd928s- Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) November 9, 2019
Russell finished with a career-high 52 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists in the loss as Golden State falls to 2-7 on the season.
DLO is a bucket ☔️- NBA TV (@NBATV) November 9, 2019
He dropped a career-high 52 PTS & grabbed 9 REB tonight!#DubNation pic.twitter.com/ZJE42Qbs1x
Wiggins finished with 40 points shooting an efficient 17-for-33 (51.5%) from the field to go with seven assists and five rebounds as the Timberwolves advance to 5-3. He has had three huge games in a row, averaging 31.6 points, 4.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over that span.
After the game the Canadian forward was estatic in recognizing how well he's been playing, "It feels good to be back."
"It feels good to be back."@22wiggins on his 40 POINT NIGHT. #Timberwolves pic.twitter.com/nY7qe18iir- FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) November 9, 2019