Timberwolves beat the Spurs behind Karl-Anthony Towns’ 60 points

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 60 points in the win over the San Antonio Spurs. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 60 points in the win over the San Antonio Spurs. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minnesota Timberwolves
San Antonio Spurs guard Lonnie Walker IV was part of an effective offense attack against a porous Minnesota Timberwolves defense. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /

Takeaway No. 1: Timberwolves’ porous defense

It’s a good thing Towns and Co. set a franchise record for points in a game, because they couldn’t guard a fire hydrant.

The Spurs entered the night with the second-lowest 3-point rate in the league, so Minnesota came out in a sagging defense featuring drop pick-and-roll coverage. The problem was that the Wolves allowed too much of a cushion, creating the no-win proposition of allowing 64 points in the paint and a 13-of-35 mark from three.

Towns, playing as Minnesota’s only reliable big with Jarred Vanderbilt and Naz Reid out, found himself back in the rim-protecting role that he’s struggled with for years, and San Antonio got whatever it wanted around the basket. Keldon Johnson scored 34 points and made all eight of his shots in the first two quarters, repeatedly bullying his way to the basket and knocking down open threes.

Dejounte Murray was another perimeter player who scored inside repeatedly, finishing with 30 points and 12 assists. He was the prime beneficiary of Minnesota’s drop defense, eating up all the space Minnesota afforded him off screens to get to his spots.

It was clear the Wolves were alright with winning a shootout; that’s fine considering the absent big men. That won’t fly against better competition in the postseason, though.

Takeaway No. 2: Timberwolves’ up-and-down guards

D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards are both self-creation-based players, so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that Patrick Beverley was the best guard on Minnesota’s roster with Towns dominating the ball.

Russell was undoubtedly strong offensively and deserves credit for picking his spots efficiently around Towns. He got off to an atypical hot start, pouring in 15 points and making all six of his field goal attempts in the first quarter.

He didn’t make a peep again until the beginning of the fourth quarter when Towns was out, keeping Minnesota’s offense going in the absence of its go-to guy. Russell finished with 19 points on 12 shots.

Edwards, on the other hand, struggled to find his place, scoring five points on seven shots. That will happen when high-usage teammates are rolling, but he didn’t provide any of the auxiliary skills he showed in Minnesota’s win in Miami Saturday.

Beverley, though, scored an efficient 20 points by going 7-of-8 from the line and added eight assists. More importantly, he brought the intensity Minnesota needed with Vanderbilt out. So many players on this team let the game come to them and aren’t too demonstrative, which is fine, but every squad needs those guys who bend the game to their will.

A high-scoring game like this could have created apathy and, ultimately, a bad Wolves loss. Beverley did enough of the dirty work to keep that from happening.


  • The Denver Nuggets pulled out an exciting road win against the Philadelphia 76ers, so Minnesota doesn’t pick up a game in the race for the No. 6 seed. But for one night, that probably isn’t top of mind.
  • Jaden McDaniels rolled his ankle in the final minute and put no weight on it as he was helped to the locker room.
  • A few interesting Finch comments came out postgame: “I think people clearly see how incredibly talented KAT is and what he’s able to do, and they also see that there will be nights where he takes maybe eight, 10 shots and does whatever else the game needs.”

Next. Wolves Roundup: Glen Taylor speaks. dark

The Timberwolves host the Los Angeles Lakers in their next game on Wednesday evening.