If the Timberwolves dreamt their perfect game and plotted it moment by moment, it still might not have compared to the 138-95 drubbing they dealt Saturday night to one of their most frustrating foils, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Picture Anthony Edwards smiling and pointing to the crowd after making each of his five first-quarter three-point attempts. Imagine D'Angelo Russell collapsing into the arms of Karl-Anthony Towns after hitting one of his four threes in his best game of the season. Think of Jarred Vanderbilt grabbing almost every offensive rebound and then Towns auditioning for the dunk contest with a reverse slam all alone on a breakaway in the third quarter.
All of that was present at Target Center in a party that began early and never stopped.
"Target Center was like something I haven't felt since I've been here," Vanderbilt said. "I feel like the energy and the atmosphere is just different. We're playing a fun style of basketball where it's fun to play, fun to watch."
For all their early-season shooting struggles, the Wolves were owed a night like this — almost every NBA team has a night where everything goes right.
The Wolves shot 54% from the field and 49% from three-point range (58% through three quarters) and led by as many as 45. Their 113-71 lead after the third quarter was the largest lead after three in team history.
Edwards, who had 23 points, hit his first five threes and got the crowd on its feet early. His teammates did the rest.
"I was trying to get the building hype," Edwards said. "I feel like once I hit one shot, it's over for anybody. … I'm known for getting to the rim and layups. But once my three ball fall, y'all in trouble."
Memphis was in big trouble.
Vanderbilt finished with five points and 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive end, and he kept other possessions alive by knocking loose balls around to teammates. He also added three steals and has been a key reason why the Wolves have won three games in a row.
"It was a great week for us, put us right where we want to be as far as in the standings ..." Vanderbilt said. "We're just playing high-level basketball on both ends. Everybody is locked in, everybody is engaged. We all got one common goal and it's just to win, and just leaving it out on the floor every night."
Towns (21 points) overcame early trouble with the officiating to help put the game away with 15 third-quarter points. Russell hit most of his shots, both difficult and easy, as he finished with 28 points on 9-for-15 shooting to go with five assists.
Wolves coach Chris Finch has often said the most desperate team in an NBA game usually comes out on top. The Wolves played like they were finally tired of losing to the Grizzlies, who had won the past seven matchups. They came out with a passion they had too infrequently earlier this season but found in the last few days and led 40-23 after the first quarter and never let Memphis back in it.
The Wolves had crisp ball movement. They took shots in rhythm. They hustled after loose balls, defended well and they rebounded to finish possessions. All these things have eluded them at various points this season. They all came together Saturday.
"It felt good, man. That's all I can say," Edwards said. "It felt great. But that's behind us. We got a game on Monday."
The question now for the Wolves is can they carry this over and make this type of effort the norm rather than the exception?
Or was this just a dream, soon to be forgotten once they awake Sunday?