Karl-Anthony Towns has been in this position many times: in front of the media after a Timberwolves loss. In Friday's case, a bad loss, a 123-106 drubbing at the hands of the big, strong Cleveland Cavaliers at Target Center that wasn't as close as the final score might indicate.
And he's tired of it.
Towns, the talented Wolves center, can at times be a bit hyperbolic. But Friday, staring at the final box score in his hand, his words seemed incisive, brutally honest.
"I've lost for a long time here," Towns said. "I'm not trying to lose anymore. It's pretty simple as that. Food don't taste good. Life don't feel the same. Disappointing. Just disappointing. Just tired of coming up here and saying a bunch of stuff at the end of a game, because it never translates to the next game."
The Cavaliers (15-12) — whose starting five includes 7-footers Lauri Markkanen, Evan Mobley and Jarret Allen — had a 20-4 lead before the game was five minutes old. The lead grew, basically, throughout the night, and to 33 before Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff cleared his bench for much of the final quarter.
The Wolves, normally undersized, struggled from the start. The Cavs shot 54.1%, scored 62 of their points in the paint, rained down 12 dunks. It was clear from the start the Wolves were either out of sync with the game plan or struggling to bring the necessary energy while losing their fifth in a row.
"The start was everything," coach Chris Finch said. "Like, a team had lost four games in a row, coming into a game that we desperately needed, on our own floor, before we hit the road. The start was poor and the rest of the game was wholly unacceptable."
All five Cavs starters and two reserves scored 11 or more points. Three of them — point guard Darius Garland (12 points, 12 assists), Allen (21 points, 10 rebounds) and former Wolves star Kevin Love (18 points, 13 rebounds) — had double-doubles.
BOXSCORE: Cleveland 123, Wolves 106
Again playing without the injured D'Angelo Russell, the Wolves (11-15) finished their homestand 0-3, outscored by a total of 60 points. Towns had 21 points, Malik Beasley 15 and Jaylen Nowell 10. The Wolves were beaten up in the paint, outrun on the break. Both Finch and Towns talked about a lack of effort.
"I think it's playing like a team that has no confidence," Finch said. "I don't think the guys are trying to do it all by themselves. I don't see that, per se. It does. ... It's playing like a team that has lost its sprit, lost its confidence."
On all of that, Towns agreed.
"We're not doing anything we usually do well," he said. "The first quarter we start fast, strong. … We ain't doing it. They killed us in transition. … Getting into the paint, making shots. I could go down the list. It's just frustrating."
More so than a six-game losing streak earlier in the season, Towns said. The Wolves were in many of those games. This time? The past three losses have come by 11 to Atlanta, by 32 to Utah, and then Friday. This streak, Towns said, is a whole different vibe.
"You lose five in a row, it feels like 10 in a row," he said. "Four of them have been blowouts. In watching tape it looks different."
Why? Towns said he doesn't know. Perhaps winning five in a row and seven of eight before this current losing streak made the team complacent, he said. "We got a little pub, a little buzz," he said. "We got too comfortable. We're not putting the work in. It's as simple as that."