Out of breath and sweating from his post-practice workout, Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns entered a huddle of media Thursday knowing he had to answer for his performance in Tuesday's 109-104 play-in victory over the Clippers.

"I'm not tripping at all. In a good space," Towns said. "Just good to get past the last two days and I'm ready to go."

Win or lose, whether he plays well or not, Towns never ducks media obligations when requested to speak. He took time to give his explanation on his out-of-character performance against the Clippers: 11 points, four turnovers and six fouls in 24 minutes. He missed the last 7 minutes, 34 seconds after fouling out.

"I think last game showed I want to win so bad sometimes I maybe could do too much," Towns said.

Coach Chris Finch thought Towns was pressing "a little bit," but in the next sentence said he wasn't concerned there would be any carry-over from Tuesday into Game 1 against Memphis on Saturday. The biggest thing they discussed was Towns getting the ball out of his hands quicker when he faces multiple defenders.

"I thought he just got caught wrestling a little bit too much," Finch said. "Trying to take on the matchup too much, don't fight the game so much. There were two on him almost every time he caught the ball, even before he caught the ball a lot of times. He's got to get off of it a little bit quicker."

Finch said the Wolves could have done a better job of getting Towns the ball in transition as the trail man. That would allow Towns to get the ball in situations when the defense is looser and isn't set up properly to apply a double-team.

For his part, Towns said he has to be "smarter" when it comes to his foul trouble. He specifically referenced his sixth foul, which came when he attempted to get an offensive rebound over Paul George. Towns bumped George and was done for the night.

"Sometimes the best play is maybe to not go get a rebound," Towns said. "Though I knew the game was close … probably not the smartest idea to try and get one. Even if it was minimal contact, no contact, whatever it is. Just the look of it, I shouldn't put myself in that position. I got to do better in that."

Towns then said he would do a better job "showing his hands" to avoid fouls.

"I got to be very disciplined in showing my hands, and just praying a lot and putting a lot of holy water on," Towns said with a smile.

The Wolves overcame Towns' struggles and mounted a fourth-quarter comeback behind guards D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards. Their defense also limited the Clippers to only 20 fourth-quarter points.

"This is a game where it's our team. Last game wasn't my finest game," Towns said. "A lot of adversity, things I can't control. But at the end of the day, these guys stepped up and got the job done. All credit to them. They deserve to get all the shine, credit and adulation. They deserved it. They worked hard."

By adversity, Towns typically means officiating and calls he can't control.

“I think last game showed I want to win so bad sometimes I maybe could do too much.”
Karl-Anthony Towns

In a seven-game series against the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, the Wolves aren't going to win without Towns playing at or near his best, and they'll need him to move past the officiating. Towns struggled in his first postseason against the Rockets in 2017-18. He struggled against the Clippers in a postseason game. That victory, at least, gives him a chance to rectify his performance and begin a new playoff legacy.

"I got a more clear role for what they want me to do in the playoffs," Towns said. "So I'm very confident, feel very good. Happy. I'm in a great mental space now. So, I'm just blessed to even have this chance to play basketball. The playoffs is a little deeper for me than just basketball."