Naz Reid stars as Timberwolves win home opener

The home opener always features an elaborate introduction where every single player on the roster runs onto the floor as they’re individually announced.

Every Timberwolves reserve received a decent applause as they were introduced Saturday at Target Center ahead of Minnesota’s bout with Miami.

Then came Naz Reid — also a bench player — who received one of the loudest cheers of the night.

A couple hours later, the arena was roaring with “Naz Reid!” chants. One of the crowd favorites carried Minnesota to its first win of the season.

Reid was electric Saturday, making all of the proper decisions and hitting a number of timely shots. He finished with 25 points and eight rebounds in just 28 minutes as the Timberwolves toppled Miami 106-90.

“We got back on track tonight,” Reid said during his on-court, postgame television interview, “and looking to stay on track moving forward.”

Reid ignited a stagnant offense by playing with the perfect combination of smarts and aggression. When he had an open shot, he took it. When a defender was closing out, he drove. When there was an open man, he hit him. He makes each of those decisions in a split second.

That’s what makes good offense go. Through the first six quarters of the regular season, Minnesota lacked such direction. The Wolves held the ball and lacked movement and flow. It’s why Minnesota (1-1) lost in Toronto and why it was struggling with the Heat (1-2), who were missing a chunk of their rotation — including Jimmy Butler, who was resting on the second half of a back to back.

Reid is an antidote for all of that. His movement sparks movement of others. When he is on the floor, good offense is sure to follow. It’s fun to watch the big man operate. Timberwolves coach Chris Finch noted Reid is one of the team’s best ball movers.

Reid is a catalyst for good basketball.

He also continues to get better. Finch noted Reid looks better at attacking mismatches, chasing opponents around the arc and rebounding. Every year, the big man takes another leap.

“He obviously does a lot of spectacular things in this game, but it’s really a testament to what a great summer can do for you. He’s got a lot of confidence.”

That’s why Timberwolves fans adore him. It’s why Finch couldn’t take him off the floor in the fourth quarter Saturday, playing Reid over Karl-Anthony Towns. And it’s why Minnesota had no choice but to re-sign Reid this offseason, even though the Timberwolves already had two all-star centers on the roster.

“Fun to watch him play, for sure,” Finch said.

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