The Minnesota Timberwolves had their fingerprints all over All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, including a show-stealing performance from Karl-Anthony Towns on Saturday night.
Timberwolves’ All-Star Weekend in review: Rising Stars Challenge
The Timberwolves came into the weekend with participants on all three days of All-Star festivities for the first time in six years. Collectively, they did not disappoint.
On Friday, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels participated in the Clorox Rising Stars Challenge. This year’s format meant that there were four teams of eight players, and the Wolves duo ended up on opposite sides of the bracket, meaning that there was a chance that they’d meet in the championship round.
Edwards’ squad, Team Isiah, held up their end of the bargain with Desmond Bane knocking down a game-winning free throw to get his team to the predetermined number of 50 points. Edwards, started but only played the first few minutes of the untimed game, scoring four points on a couple of dunks.
McDaniels suited up for Team Payton and scored 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including a pair of made 3-pointers. He tied with Bones Hyland for the most shot attempts on the team and was extremely aggressive, but his squad ultimately lost by two after leading for much of the contest.
In the championship, Edwards didn’t see the floor. That meant that Wolves fans were robbed of the opportunity of seeing either of their players on the court. Edwards stated after the game that the sprained ankle suffered on Tuesday was not the reason that he didn’t play in the final game.
Timberwolves’ All-Star Weekend in review: 3-Point Contest
After the revamped Skills Challenge, Karl-Anthony Towns took the floor in the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest.
While there were no previous champions from the event participating, there were a host of impressive guards that could have been considered favorites, from Atlanta’s Trae Young to the Clippers’ Luke Kennard, the latter of whom had the best regular-season 3-point shooting percentage this year of anyone in the field.
For some reason, Towns had the longest odds of any player heading into the competition. He proved the oddsmakers wrong, scoring 22 points in the first round and earning a spot in the final round with Young and Kennard.
Towns went first and put up 29 points, a final round record. Neither of his competitors could match that number, and the Wolves’ three-time All-Star had his trophy — another feather in the cap of the “best shooting big man ever” claim that we’re still debating, for some reason.
The Slam Dunk contest was nothing to write home about. Winner Obi Toppin had three nice dunks, but the other three contestants largely left the crowd glued to their seats.
Timberwolves’ All-Star Weekend in review: All-Star Game
Of course, Towns was also a participant in the main game on Sunday. He was a member of Team Durant, who were heavy underdogs with their injured team captain unavailable and the likes of LeBron James, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic all on the opposing team.
Towns came off the bench and played 14 minutes, the third-least minutes of anyone on his squad, ahead of Rudy Gobert (13 minutes) and former Wolf Zach LaVine (11).
KAT was effective, scoring nine points on 4-of-8 shooting and pulling down six rebounds. He missed his first two 3-point attempts but connected on a couple of impressive dunks in the first quarter before knocking down a 3-pointer from the right corner in the second half. Towns also pitched in three assists.
The story of the night, of course, was Curry’s 50 points (second-most in All-Star Game history) and 16 made 3-pointers, which was a record. Also of note: Ohio native LeBron James hit the game-winner on a turnaround jumper over LaVine and Joel Embiid.
It was a fun weekend overall, and it was made even more entertaining by the consistent presence of Wolves players.
Between Anthony Edwards and D’Angelo Russell, it’s fair to expect the Wolves to have more than one player represent the team in next year’s All-Star Game.