CHARLOTTE – Another game, another monster night for Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns followed up his 36-point, 14-rebound, three-assist night against Brooklyn on Wednesday by topping those numbers Friday: 37 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists in a 121-99 win over the Hornets.
Towns has picked up where he left off a season ago and is setting stat sheets on fire.
Towns became the second Wolves player to start the season with back to back 30-point, 10-rebound games since Kevin Garnett in 1999.
His third quarter was head turning with 17 points and five rebounds, and it helped the Wolves crack open the game after leading by two at the half. Of course, Towns pointed to the one flaw in his night – 7 of 13 from the free-throw line – as evidence he needs to get better.
“I’m not in midseason form. I missed some free throws and missing some shots I easily hit,” Towns said. “But hey, I’m just taking what’s given and these guys need me and I’ve got to be able to go out there and deliver.”
Of note was the ease with which Towns distributed the ball to his teammates when Charlotte double teamed. After the Wolves missed nine of their first 10 shots, Towns’ ability to hit open cutters helped the Wolves settle down and chip away at Charlotte’s 15-point lead in the opening minutes.
“I had my spots already pegged before the game,” Towns said. “I knew where I was looking at. I went out there, first couple minutes, we were getting a good feel. We didn’t play with energy. I had to pick my energy up as well. I was just trying to do things that were keeping the game easy for us.
“We struggled mightily in the beginning shooting the ball. That’s when my job is to make sure I make everyone better. That’s when I got to get people easy buckets and get us going.”
Coach Ryan Saunders said he noticed Towns was able to get going with his defense – Towns had four steals and two blocks.
“He had a couple plays defensively where he did a good job in pick and rolls basically playing both the driver and the man rolling,” Saunders said. “He got a block and I think that kind of just got him going a little bit. When you’re not taking the ball out of the net, you’re able to get easier baskets as a group. I think he was able to find his rhythm a little more there.”
Okogie sparks Wolves again
The Wolves also stated finding their rhythm once Okogie checked in nearly halfway through the first quarter. It was another positive showing from Okogie, who also played a big part in the win Wednesday in Brooklyn. He finished 14 points Friday on 5 of 6 shooting and was a plus-28, the highest plus-minus on the Wolves on Friday.
“He’s done it in ways where he’s got energy and he’s been all over the place,” Saunders said. “But you’re not feeling like he’s always on the floor. You’re not feeling like he’s getting himself out of position. I see tremendous growth. Granted, it’s a small sample size. It’s two games, but it’s better than not growing in two games.”