CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Hornets veteran forward Marvin Williams has seen plenty during his 13th NBA seasons, but until fairly recently he had never seen young big men who played like guards quite like this.
Two weeks after Williams defended Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns and New York’s Kristaps Porzingis in consecutive games, he took another look at Towns on Monday, just hours after Towns was named the Western Conference’s Player of the Week.
“It’s getting scary to see what some of these young guys are doing,” Williams said. “A Towns or a Porzingis, who’s 7-3 or 7-4, and their ability to put the ball on the floor and shoot the basketball. The league is changing, man. It’s really changing. You’re seeing a lot of centers who can step outside and play as well. It’s definitely fun basketball to watch and fun to play against as well.”
Towns won the weekly award for the third time in his young career after he averaged 20.3 and 12.3 rebounds last week, but he probably wouldn’t have won it if the Wolves hadn’t gone 3-1 in a week that ended when they were outscored 29-17 in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 100-97 loss to Detroit.
“It’s satisfying, it’s always nice to get respect from your colleagues,” Towns said. “But all those statistics and stuff don’t matter. I’m glad to see we had a winning record. We should have been 4-0, but 3-1 is not bad.”
A real headache
Wolves guard Jamal Crawford looked as good as ever Monday after he played only 6½ minutes Sunday because of a migraine.
Crawford has had them occasionally for years, but he said Sunday’s was the first one that came on during a NBA game.
He thinks getting bumped hard might caused it, but he’s not sure.
“It’s not just the migraine,” he said. “You see stars and it’s like a fog that comes over you. They can linger for days if you don’t stay on top of them.”
Crawford watched the rest of the game in a darkened, quiet training room and said he felt much better by the time the Wolves’ chartered flight landed in Charlotte after midnight.
Crawford scored 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting Monday.
Wolves star Jimmy Butler made two free throws, but missed a third that could have forced overtime late in Sunday’s loss to the Pistons.
He did so after Detroit guard Reggie Jackson came up alongside him and shouted instructions to a teammate just before a referee handed Butler the ball for a final free throw that could have tied the score.
Gamesmanship or all’s fair in love and basketball?
“You see that stuff all the time,” Thibodeau said. “Jimmy has been in a lot of pressure situations. He’ll step up and make the next one. We have to move on. Those are big free throws that are tough shots, but he has made a ton of them.”
Thibodeau and Hornets coach Steve Clifford were assistants together under Jeff Van Gundy for years in both New York and Houston.
“You could tell then he’d be a great head coach,” Clifford said. “Coaching summer league, being an assistant for him was a great experience for me. He very much took me under his wing.”
Making a difference?
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nic Batum started Monday night for the Hornets, after both missed a 112-94 loss at Target Center two weeks ago. Their presence made Clifford feel better about matchups against Butler and Andrew Wiggins on the wing.
“Last time, they hurt us with those matchups,” Clifford said. “Tom’s great, to me as good as anybody in this league, when they see matchup they can go to. That’s what they did up there.”
Batum scored 17 points and Kidd-Gilchrist eight Monday.