PHILADELPHIA — Over the last week of games, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch has revealed a facet of his coaching style that stands out late in games.
Twice since last Friday's win over the Rockets, Finch has called a timeout when he felt like a Wolves possession was about to go haywire. He did it late in a win over Houston on Friday when Jaden McDaniels was on a one-on-one fast break but looked like he was about to lose control of the ball, and Finch did it again Monday when the Wolves were struggling to get the ball out of the backcourt against the Nets.
"It's just a feel thing," Finch said. "I don't know when it became a part of my repertoire as you would put it. In general, I like to save as many timeouts to the end of the game for whatever purpose, and saving possessions is really huge at that point in time."
Finch said this desire to save possessions late plays into his challenge strategy, which is usually not to challenge anything early in a game.
"Generally I think it's better to be able to try to challenge stuff late," Finch said. "It's far more impactful. Just trying to save a possession, really, is all it is."
The only potential issue with that is Finch can call for the timeout but an official has to grant the request before the Wolves lose possession. Finch said in those situations he is trying to "aggressively" get officials' attention.
"In general referees are kind of trained to ignore you because in that situation they don't think you're gonna want it," Finch said. "So I had to run after him [in the game Friday] down the floor to get his attention and make sure. He did a great job. He made sure I got it."
Beasley added to injury list
In an unwelcome development for the Wolves, guard Malik Beasley was added to the injury report Saturday afternoon and ended up not playing for what the team said is "left hamstring soreness."
Finch said he thought the injury was minor but added, "These things are tricky with hamstrings."
Also out Saturday was Ricky Rubio, who missed his second straight game because of back spasms. Rubio was present at warmups but was just getting up some shots and didn't appear to be exerting himself much.
Towns wants more than stats
A few times this season, center Karl-Anthony Towns has said he wants more than just to fill up the stat sheet. That he wants to be known for winning, and not just for putting up good offensive numbers. Towns reiterated that after Friday's loss to the Grizzlies, in which he had 30 points and 16 rebounds.
"Now, what I've got to prove is can I win," Towns said. "That's the next step. And I've got to do whatever it takes. It's great, I look at the stat sheet, it's wonderful — 30 and 16 — but we lost. … At the end of the day, the word on me is still going to be the word. There's only one way to change the narrative, and that's to go beat the narrative."
Towns said he's aware that the lack of winning has stuck to his reputation in the league.
"What can I do to build on my legacy? What can I do?" Towns said. "The legacy is not about stats anymore. I've proven myself. Now it's more about can I get us to win."