Minnesota Timberwolves: Key takeaways from Wolves’ blowout loss to Clippers

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley talks to an official. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley talks to an official. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns had a rough game against the LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /

Karl-Anthony Towns sleepwalks through blowout

Karl-Anthony Towns followed up one of his best games of the season with a no-show, scoring eight points on 3-of-11 shooting and failing to make his presence felt on defense.

Towns spent very little time as a fulcrum in the middle of the floor on offense after he dominated from that area against Anthony Davis and the Lakers. The Clippers generally put a big forward such as Nicolas Batum on him and put their center on one of the Wolves’ offense-challenged forwards, so Towns had to contend with a big even when he did come loose.

“They wrestle with him, they pre-double him, they take the ball out of his hands in every way, shape and form when he gets it,” Finch said. “We gotta figure out how to solve that. That’s on me.”

Three of Towns’ five lowest-scoring games of the season have come against the Clippers, who have held him in check by throwing multiple bodies at him any time he’s around the paint. Towns must prove that he has an answer for the approach, or he’ll struggle with similar defensive schemes for the rest of the season.

Minnesota Timberwolves’ offensive flow still absent

Chris Finch doesn’t have this team run many offensive sets. Instead, the idea is to let the Timberwolves’ offensive stars freelance a little bit within a loose structure.

The approach has not worked, to say the least; Minnesota ranks in the bottom five in offensive rating, mainly because they hit long stretches of stagnancy where the players don’t appear to have a feel for where or when to move. Maybe the players are still learning how that flow works with each other, but they’re consistently out of sync.

That was the case for much of Saturday’s game, in which the Wolves shot 39.2 percent from the floor. Their inability to get stops kept them in the slog of the halfcourt, where their nonexistent structure had them looking like kids who hadn’t studied for a math test: roughly aware of what they were supposed to do, but lacking the specific formula to find the solution.

Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell put in an effort, combining for 36 points, but took 38 shots to get there. The one positive is that the Wolves took care of the ball, committing just 10 turnovers.

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The loss wraps up the West Coast road trip for the Wolves, who are no 4-8. Minnesota returns to the Target Center on Monday to host the Phoenix Suns.