NEW YORK — Karl-Anthony Towns was in a pretty good mood despite the Timberwolves' 112-107 loss to the Nets on Monday. Towns was happy with the way the Wolves played but also because he got to play in front of his family for one of the first times since the death of his late mother Jacqueline last year to COVID-19.
Towns' father Karl Sr. and other family members saw Towns briefly after the game before the team headed back to Minnesota. The family had a suite in Barclays Center and was cheering after Towns scored each of his 31 points.
When asked what it meant to have them there, Towns said "Everything."
"After the game, even after the loss he understood how upset I was losing and everything but he came to me, told me something that he got me a little emotional — but he said my mom would've been proud the way I played tonight," Towns said.
Towns said playing the Nets is always special for him because this was the team he grew up watching and attending games when they were in New Jersey.
"It's so crazy, I was just thinking about this in the locker room right now that we were just playing Houston, and I'm playing Kenyon Martin Jr., and I've been watching Kenyon Martin when I was a junior, so that was crazy," Towns said. "Time flies. I remember being in the stands and (thinking) it's going to be my time one day to be Kenyon Martin, and now I am in the NBA like him, and I'm playing against his son, so it's kind of crazy to know how life has worked out pretty quick."
Towns also said his father carried on a tradition of his mother, which was to come near the floor and make a little noise as the teams were getting ready.
"It affected me because my mom always did that," Towns said. "My dad was never the one to make his presence known. … It's the first time really having my family watch me play in person. When I see my dad, it's like, 'Where's my mom? She's going to come.' And obviously, she's not going to show up. So that affected me, but I go out there and play the best I can for this team."
Ant hits the boards
Anthony Edwards (23 points) tied his career high with 10 rebounds, which included a key offensive rebound late as the Wolves were making a charge. Edwards said afterward coach Chris Finch challenges him before each night to get "seven" boards.
"Coach before every game lately, he tells me, 'Go get me seven rebounds.' And I tell him, 'I'll get you 10,' or something around there, so I try to stay around that area," Edwards said. "But I try to hunt down the boards more now. Because we give up a lot of offensive rebounds, so I feel like if I give more effort, then we won't give up as many."
Edwards also closed out Monday's game after Finch sat him down the stretch of a game against Oklahoma City and Houston. Edwards owned up to his performances, saying in colorful language they were subpar and he shouldn't have been out there.
"I found myself today, and I feel like I got back on my groove, and I'm going to keep on it and keep at it," Edwards said.