Some players have certain music they listen to before a game.
Karl-Anthony Towns has a slightly different pregame ritual he has adopted.
"I really have just been watching two gorillas fight before every game," Towns said. "I've been addicted to that. I want to see who is the best in the laws of nature."
Towns mentioned that Tuesday after practice when discussing what his mind-set was going to be this season. The previous day, his teammate D'Angelo Russell mentioned he wanted to "kill anybody in front of us."
"I don't care who it is. I don't care what team it is. Just try to win the matchup," Russell said. "Win the night. Win the quarter. Win everything."
Towns said he wanted to "dominate."
"Just pure domination, from start to finish," Towns said. "Preseason, I tried to show domination from every aspect of basketball, defensively, offensively, passing, just winning plays."
That's how Towns gets into the mind-set he needs to play on a nightly basis, the specific mood he must be in to perform. More broadly speaking, Towns has talked a lot this preseason about how he is in a good place mentally headed into this season after a difficult year last season following the death of his mother, Jacqueline, and other family members to COVID-19. Wednesday was finally the day he could take the court again with a renewed sense of purpose.
"I think last year I did it for the fans, I did it for my teammates, did it for the organization. I didn't do it at all for myself, as something I look forward to every day," Towns said. "It is what it is, last year. But this year just feels a little better, get a year off, a year to realign myself, put myself in different shoes, different light, and be, I guess, comfortable in this new life."
Coach Chris Finch said he was going to save his use of challenges for "high-leverage" situations this season. For example, Finch still will use it early in the game if Towns picks up a third foul, or if Finch can take an opponent's three-pointer off the board, he'll do it. The NBA's rule changes to replay, which restricts officials' ability to check out-of-bounds calls in the final two minutes, could have an impact on when Finch uses his challenge, as well.
Now, only coaches via use of their challenge can initiate those reviews.
"I'm of the approach that I'll save my challenge," Finch said. "I'd rather go home with my challenge than waste it early, in the hopes that I can use it late, and now with the change in the last two minutes, I think there's probably always going to be a chance to maybe use it within 90 seconds to give it a try. I could see a lot more challenges being called later."
Okogie OK with no deal
The NBA's deadline for players on expiring rookie contracts to sign extensions came and went without a deal for Josh Okogie, who will now enter restricted free agency after the season.
Okogie said he wasn't disappointed with the result and was looking forward to proving his worth in a contract year.
"I'm always going to try and play as hard as I can, but obviously this year is probably the most — every year is going to be the most important year for me — but since this is like the most current year, it's the most important," Okogie said.
Okogie was looking forward to the opportunity to sink more shots this season if opponents leave him open around the three-point line. Okogie is a 27% three-point shooter for his career, and he has put a lot of work into it this offseason.
"I wish they let me shoot this year," Okogie said.
Okogie was the fifth starter Wednesday night alongside Towns, Russell, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels.
The Wolves were without Patrick Beverley, who was serving a one-game suspension stemming from a shove of Chris Paul in last season's Western Conference finals. Jordan McLaughlin (groin) and Jaylen Nowell (back) were available.