Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns spent Thanksgiving afternoon at the House of Charity in Minneapolis, serving free meals.
“It was a good Thanksgiving,” Towns said. “I had my family there, so it was fun.”
Towns also gave $10,000 to the House of Charity, in addition to his time. And it’s something he’s been thinking about for a while. Towns did similar work during his year at Kentucky.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for a while,” he said. “I was just trying to find the right timing, especially with our schedule.”
Last year the Wolves were on a three-game road trip Thanksgiving week.
“We started planning it way back in the preseason, when training camp started,” Towns said. “I’m glad it turned out really well …. Just seeing the people’s respect for you, to see the appreciation in their eyes, it means a lot.”
Fourth quarter, redux
Much has been made of the Wolves’ fourth-quarter problems. At shootaround Friday morning coach Tom Thibodeau expounded on the issue.
The biggest problem, he said, was the defense.
“We’re giving up a high percentage, we’re giving up a lot of points,” he said. “And we’re not getting stops so we’re not getting into the open floor.”
That said, Thibodeau noted that, against Orlando on Wednesday — when a 26-point lead starting the fourth quarter dwindled to eight before Jimmy Butler hit a big three — the Wolves got good shots. The team was 1-for-9 in the restricted area, and 1-for-7 on threes, most of which were good looks.
One issue has been the tendency for the Wolves to get into late-clock situations during possessions. Thibodeau said the depth and versatility at the wing position in the league has made finding mismatches more difficult when the opponent switches. The key in those situations?
“We have to make sure the ball continues to move,” Thibodeau said.
Teague, Bjelica out
The Wolves played Friday night without starting point guard Jeff Teague and key reserve Nemanja Bjelica. Teague had a sore right Achilles’ tendon, an injury he said he suffered near the end of the Wolves’ victory over the Magic. Bjelica is suffering from a left midfoot sprain, something Thibodeau said had been bothering him for a while. Both are day to day.
“We’ll see how they feel [Saturday],’’ Thibodeau said.
Aaron Brooks got the start at the point in place of Teague, though Thibodeau went to Tyus Jones early on; Jones finished with eight points and six assists in a career-high 32 minutes, 35 seconds. Brooks played just 13 minutes.
According to NBA.com’s John Schumann, the combination of Teague and Towns is one of the most potent this season. Teague has assisted on 46 baskets by Towns.
That is the second-most-proficient combo in the league; Portland guard Damian Lillard has 53 assists to Jusuf Nurkic to top the league. Teague had assisted on a full one-third of Towns’ baskets before Friday’s game.
“He’s a great passer, a facilitator while being a great scorer,” Towns said.
To look at it another way, 46 of Teague’s 135 assists — 34.1 percent — have gone to Towns.
Dieng struggling with shot
Since returning from a sprained right index finger that forced him to miss three games, Wolves backup forward/center Gorgui Dieng has struggled with his shot, hitting just three of 13 shots in the four games before Friday’s game with Miami.
Thibodeau said he didn’t know whether the finger was still affecting Dieng’s shot.
“Sometimes when you miss some time — and it wasn’t a lot of time — but it does take you out of your rhythm,” Thibodeau said. “I think he’ll be fine. He’s making ’em in practice. We need his defense, his rebounding and play-making. If he does that he can still help us even if he’s not shooting particularly well. I think it will come around for him.”
Dieng had four points on 2-for-4 shooting Friday night.