The Minnesota Timberwolves used Karl-Anthony Towns' birthday 26 and 16 performance and a 50% performance from the arc in their 98-86 win in San Antonio on Wednesday night.
1. Let's talk about Big KAT right off the bat. On his birthday, Towns put in 26 and 16, going 10-18 from the field, hitting both of his three-point shots, and hitting 4-6 free throws. He also had two assists, a steal, and two blocks in his 40 minutes. Since we haven't talked about him in a bit, so far this season, Towns' scoring average is down from last season at 21.5 points per game, he averaged 25.1 last year, but elsewhere it is right on point. He is averaging 11.6 rebounds, is shooting 54.5% from the field, and 38% from three, and also increased his free throw percentage to 85.2% from 83.2% last season. Towns has been in double figures all but one game this season, and has eclipsed 20 points nine out of 14 times this season, and has had double digits rebound 11 out of 14 times.
2. The Wolves, for the first time all season, had under 10 turnovers, as Jeff Teague and Towns had two, Jimmy Butler and Tyus Jones had one, and Taj Gibson and Andrew Wiggins had none--Wiggins none in 36 minutes. Meanwhile the Spurs had 16 turnovers, which lead to the Wolves outscoring the Spurs on the break 13-3. Those seven turnovers had an even greater importance than usual as the Spurs scored 24 points off of turnovers.
3. Lastly, the Wolves defense stepped up in a big way once again. In their first game of the year, on the road against the Spurs, Minnesota gave up 107 points in a 107-99 loss. In both games, the Spurs have been without Kawhi Leonard, but the Wolves were able to hold Gregg Poppovich's Spurs to only 86 points, going 33-79 from the field, and a putrid 7-24 from beyond the arc. The Wolves have now held their opponent's under 100 points in five of the last seven games.
1. Jimmy Butler was unable to find a rhythm offensively at all, going 2-13 from the field, but he did show his value in other ways, contributing five rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block.
2. Free throw shooting was bad in this one as well. The Wolves went to the line 16 times but could only convert on 11 of those opportunities, giving them a percentage of 68.8 on the day.
3. Lastly, the Wolves were out-rebounded 52-49 which isn't that big of a difference, but an area of concern would be the 13 offensive boards collected by the Spurs. Now, the Wolves did grab 11 of their own, but with great rebounders in Towns and Gibson, the Wolves should be able to compete on the boards with practically any rebounding tandem.
The Wolves are now 5-1 at home, and they now look to improve their 4-4 record on the road, as they head to Dallas to play the Mavericks at 7:30 on Friday night.