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After Karl-Anthony Towns was held to just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Game 1 loss to the Houston Rockets on Sunday at Toyota Center, head coach Tom Thibodeau said the center has “got to be more active,” per Dan Feldman of NBC Sports.
The coach later expanded on what that means for Towns going forward.
“Run the floor, kick the ball out, repost, keep moving around, search it out, get to the offensive board,” Thibodeau explained. “You’ve got to sprint around. You learn, when teams are double-teaming you, that’s what you have to do.”
Even with a less than stellar performance from Towns, the Timberwolves stayed within striking distance against the No. 1 seed and only lost 104-101. Down three in the final seconds, the squad had the ball but couldn’t tie the game.
That could open its eyes regarding how good it could be with a better performance from one of its biggest stars.
Towns finished the 2017-18 regular season averaging 21.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game, finishing with an effective field-goal percentage of 59.6, according to NBA.com. Even at 7’0″, he was one of the top shooters from three-point range with a 42.1 percent rate.
Unfortunately, he could barely get the ball in Sunday’s loss despite leading Minnesota with 40 minutes played. He missed both of his three-point attempts, and the Wolves couldn’t take advantage of the mismatch in the post after switches.
Per Feldman, Towns finished seventh on the team with a 14 usage percentage.
On the other end of the court, Rockets center Clint Capela had 24 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.
If the Wolves are going to pull off the upset over the top seed, they will need to win the individual battle between these two young centers. While it’s important not to overreact after the first playoff game in Towns’ career, his performance in Game 2 on Wednesday will be vital if Minnesota wants to steal one on the road.