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Almost a year ago, Rudy Gobert took a swing at Kyle Anderson in a Timberwolves huddle in a moment that encapsulated a tumultuous season marred by immaturity and the Wolves' inability to get out of their own way.

The Wolves and the two players have come a long way since, so far, in fact, that their regrettable moment seems like a speed bump on the way to the Wolves getting to 50 wins this season.

Here were Gobert and Anderson offering effusive praise of each other after Wednesday's 106-91 victory over the Pistons.

First, Gobert talked about how Anderson is a "winner," a quality Gobert has always respected in teammates. Anderson helped the Wolves pull away from Detroit with 14 points on Wednesday, nine in the third quarter that turned the game.

"It was huge," Gobert said of Anderson's night. "Kept us in the game by just making winning plays. I saw he got a couple nice finishes, eurosteps. He's been watching me too much.

"Kyle is a winner. He goes out there every night to win, and it really carries over on everybody else."

Gobert has been the backbone of the Wolves defense all season and of late he has helped the offense survive this stretch without Karl-Anthony Towns on the floor. He had a number of tap outs that extended possessions, something that doesn't always show up for him in the box score. Teammates like Anderson have noticed those kind of plays.

"Man, he's doing a great job," Anderson said. "Being there for us on defense, keeping possessions alive, rim-running so that opens up another shot for another guy. He's doing a great job. He's setting the standard for everybody else. When you've got one of your top three guys playing hard, it has to trickle down to everybody else. So give him a lot of credit."

Gobert has played a big part in the Wolves reaching 50-22, which seems like miles from where the Wolves were a year ago. Just think of how far they have come since players like Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid began their career. The two were there for some of the recent painful days in Wolves history. Reid spent his first two years on teams that won 19 and 23 games, respectively, while McDaniels joined the team in the latter season.

"Yeah, that was bad," McDaniels said.

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So even while the Wolves, who play at Denver on Friday night with first place in the Western Conference on the line, have bigger goals in mind than reaching 50 wins this season, both offered some perspective on just how far the team has come since they joined the organization in those drearier days.

"It means a lot," McDaniels said. "I've been here four years now and ain't got close to 50 wins. It's a little milestone, but we still got to keep winning, get to the playoffs. It's all right. We not going to celebrate it."

But that doesn't mean the Wolves couldn't take at least a little pride in getting this far at this point in the season.

"That's special," Reid said. "From where this organization came from to where it is now, it's come a long way. Definitely super proud of our guys to put that best foot forward, competing and that's a pat on our back, but we're not done yet."

The Wolves are still in a tight race for the No. 1 seed with Oklahoma City and Denver, with one of two remaining matchups against the Nuggets coming Friday. Throughout the season, the Wolves have not been obsessed with getting the 1 seed. But with 10 games remaining, it's in sight and will require them to get as close to 60 wins as possible.

"You've got to win two out of three games to [reach 50], and that's really what our mindset has been this year: identity, consistency, maturity and playing to our strength," coach Chris Finch said. "So we've done that. It's all credit to these guys so far, but we've got 10 games left and we're going to keep stacking 'em up because there's a lot to play for yet."

McDaniels getting back on track

One significant development for the Wolves in the last week has been the improved offensive output of McDaniels. He had 20 points on 8-for-14 shooting in Wednesday's win. McDaniels is now shooting 58% from the field in his last four games while averaging 17.3 points. That includes 48% from three-point range. In his eight games before this stretch, McDaniels shot just 11% from three-point range.

Finch said McDaniels has been doing a better job of not getting down on himself early in games when he misses shots.

"He's able to maintain or establish a better feel for offense earlier in the game, so a lot of things I think feed into it," Finch said. "And he's not hanging his head after he misses a shot or two."

McDaniels has said he's trying not think so much, just going to start "hoopin'," he said.

"I know shots are going to go in so even when I miss, continue to stay confident and be able to make the next one," McDaniels said.

You can trace McDaniels' resurgence to his 26-point performance against Denver last week. It was a turning point for him. After weeks of struggling, it seemed like McDaniels re-discovered himself on that end of the floor.

"That was huge for him to step up at that point," Reid said. "Ever since then, I think each and every game he's been stepping up a step higher each time."