Timberwolves Wrap: Towns drops franchise-record 56 points in win

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 28: Karl-Anthony Towns. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MARCH 28: Karl-Anthony Towns. Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Timberwolves survived a pesky Atlanta Hawks squad behind a franchise-record 56 points from All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns.

With the 21-win Hawks in town, the Timberwolves simply could not afford to suffer a replay of Monday night’s deflating loss to a 20-win Memphis squad. And despite leading by as many as 16 points in the fourth quarter, they needed every last one of Karl-Anthony Towns’ franchise-record 56 points down the stretch.

Atlanta came out on fire in the first quarter, knocking down seemingly every long-distance shot they launched towards the rim. Thankfully, the Wolves’ offense woke up towards the end of the frame, and while giving up 32 points in a quarter the league’s second-worst offense isn’t exactly a good thing, the Wolves took a two-point lead into the second quarter.

Towns was a beast early and often in this one, dominating the Hawks’ diminutive front line. Rookie John Collins is a fantastic player, but simply had no shot at even slowing down the Wolves’ All-Star big man.

After a strong stretch from the bench unit in the second quarter, the starters survived a flurry of points from the Hawks and took an eight-point advantage into the locker room at halftime.

Towns was huge in the third quarter, scoring 39 points heading into the final frame. The Wolves built a 16-point lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, but the bench unit didn’t fair quite as well as they had in the first half.

The Hawks went on a 14-4 run to pull within six points with 4:22 showing on the Target Center clock, but Towns and went on a personal five-point burst to boost the lead back to double-digits, and the deficit never shrunk to less than seven points for the remainder of the game.

Tweets of the Night

Highlights of the Night

Game Takeaways

  • Towns was ultra-efficient throughout the first three quarters, and it wasn’t until the fourth that the Hawks began sending quick double-teams instead of simply stunting and, at times, halfheartedly doubling the seven-footer. KAT forced a few jumpers early in the stanza before he finally hit his fourth quarter stride in the closing minutes.
  • KAT continues to improve when it comes to passing the ball out of the post, and while he only had four assists on the night, there were certainly a few “hockey assists” mixed in.
  • Andrew Wiggins had an extremely quiet 17 points while Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson had nondescript games of their own. Nemanja Bjelica, however, bounced back nicely from his zero-point performance on Monday night with a solid box score line in this one, including an extremely active performance on the defensive end of the floor.
  • The bench rotation still only consisted of three players, but it surely appeared as though grumblings from Gibson and Teague in the media may have had an affect on the minutes distribution. Of course, it didn’t hurt that a Tyus Jones-led unit had an outstanding first half stretch, featuring a solid all-around game from Gorgui Dieng and strong defense and distribution from Jones.

Player of the Game

Karl-Anthony Towns: 56 points (19-32 FG, 6-8 3P, 12-15 FT), 15 rebounds, 4 assists, one block

Towns was dominant throughout, save for a rough 1-for-7 stretch early in the fourth quarter. It was clear that he was forcing shots here and there, whether feeling pressure to carry his squad to the win or to get to the 50-point threshold, but he pulled it together in the closing minutes of the game.

This was also an example of something that KAT could bring nearly every night; there simply aren’t too many opposing big men that can slow him down one-on-one, and not many teams with solid-enough defensive schemes to successfully double-team him, either. It was great to see him truly dominate an opponent that was clearly no match for his size and skill.

Notable Timberwolves Box Score Lines

  • Andrew Wiggins: 17 points (7-13 FG, 2-5 3P, 1-2 FT), 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Nemanja Bjelica: 14 points (6-8 FG, 2-4 3P), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, one steal
  • Jeff Teague: 11 points (4-12 FG, 2-6 3P, 1-1 FT), 8 assists, 2 steals
  • Gorgui Dieng: 9 points (4-6 FG, 0-1 3P, 1-1 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 steals
  • Tyus Jones: 2 points (1-6 FG, 0-2 3P), 9 assists, 2 steals

Next: On the Timberwolves path to the playoffs...

What’s Next?

The Wolves will head all the way down I-35 to Dallas to take on the Mavericks on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. CT for the fourth and final time this season. Minnesota has won the first three matchups.