There was a lot to like in Karl-Anthony Towns' stat line in Thursday's victory over Sacramento.
He had 30 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, five blocks while finishing a plus-22. In the process he became the second player in Timberwolves history (Kevin Garnett was the other) to have a game with at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and five assists.
Perhaps the most impressive part of that performance? The blocks.
Of late Towns has been blocking a lot of shots, 12 in the past four games entering Saturday's game against Phoenix at Target Center.
Consider it a trend.
"As he continues to go vertical, I think that will be huge for him,'' Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said.
More and more, Towns is getting to shots without committing fouls. That has a lot to do with being in better position. It's also because of his ability to, as Thibodeau said, stay vertical.
"He has to fight the urge to whack down,'' Thibodeau said. "That's the biggest thing. When he does that, he's pretty good. Karl is so long, he's a hard guy to finish over. He's starting to figure out the body position part, the technique into the verticality. I think he'll continue to grow."
Towns agreed that it was all about position.
"And I'm doing a better job of understanding everyone's traits, understanding what they like to do,'' he said. "If they like to use their left hand more than their right. I've always played off instinct. Recently I've done a good job of being more vertical. Against the Kings I did a better job of help-side blocking.''
Devin Booker's injury took some of the luster off the Wildcat reunion that occurs when the Wolves and Suns play.
Booker, Suns guard Tyler Ulis and Towns all played for the Kentucky team that went to the 2015 NCAA Final Four before the unbeaten Wildcats were upset by Wisconsin in the semifinals.
But that didn't stop the three from reminiscing about their time together in college, and laugh about some of the trash-talking that goes on these days.
Two examples: One time Towns was getting ready to shoot free throws when Ulis loudly announced that Towns would miss them.
"I remember looking right at Booker while I was shooting the basketball," Towns said. "I was like [Michael] Jordan, not even really looking at the basket."
Back in November of 2016 the two teams were playing in Phoenix when Towns got a hard shove from Booker. Towns, angry, turned around to see that Booker was the one who'd done it.
Towns immediately started trying to lobby the ref not to call a technical on Booker.
To no avail.
"I was trying to save him from getting a technical foul," towns said.
"It didn't work out in his favor. But it was fun."
•A day after backup guard Jamal Crawford talked about his difficulty adjusting to fewer minutes than he is used to, Thibodeau talked about the sacrifices players have to make for the team.
"Look at Jimmy [Butler], [Andrew] Wiggins, KAT, they're sacrificing some shots attempts," Thibodeau said. "G [Gorgui Dieng], we ask him to come off the bench. You're always concerned with doing that's best for the team. And so, play well, and it's not only him, but the group he's with.''
•Forward Nemanja Bjelica missed his 12th game because of a left mid-foot sprain.