OKLAHOMA CITY – Timberwolves young star Karl-Anthony Towns has scored 20 points in a half already seven times in his career and now has done it twice in three days.
Towns did so in Thursday’s home loss to Denver and then came back in Saturday’s 112-92 loss at Oklahoma City and scored 25 of his team’s 53 points by halftime on his way to a 33-point night, two shy of his career high. Included was a gorgeous drive down the lane in which split defenders and scored with his left hand.
And that was in 31 minutes played after he sat the entire fourth quarter because the Wolves already trailed by 20 points.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan called Towns “a handful” in the first half.
Afterward, Towns said he’d willingly give back every Saturday stat for a meaningful fourth quarter and a victory.
“It don’t mean nothing,” said Towns, whose career scoring high is 35 against Toronto last February. “It’s the least of my worries. That’s the least thing I care about. None of those stats matter without us getting the win. It’s frustrating because we didn’t get the win. I’d rather finish with zero points and one rebound and get a ‘W’ than what I had tonight.”
Back to school
Wolves rookie Kris Dunn on Saturday met Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook for the second time after he got a sneak-peak during a preseason game in Oklahoma City last month.
“That’s the type of matchup I like,” he said after Westbrook went for 28 points, eight assists and six rebounds and didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter. “He’s a great player. It’s only going to improve my defense going against somebody like that.”
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau and Donovan have been friendly since Thibodeau drove down from Boston when he was a Harvard assistant in the 1980s and watched Rick Pitino’s practices at Providence, where Donovan was a star guard.
“The one thing you could count on was Providence practicing three times a day on the weekends,” Thibodeau said. “So if you wanted to watch a couple practices, that was the place to go. And he [Donovan] was terrific.”
Donovan gets a glimpse
Donovan coached Dunn briefly on a Team USA under-18 team in 2012 that Dunn left early because of injury.
“Unfortunately he hurt his shoulder,” Donovan said, “but you could see his defensive ability and you could see he was going to be a really good player.”
• Towns now has scored 25 points in a first half twice in his career. Six others Wolves have done so: Michael Beasley, Corey Brewer, Randy Foye, Kevin Garnett, Kevin Love and Wally Szczerbiak.
• Thibodeau’s technical foul for working the refs late in the first quarter was his first in the regular season as Wolves coach.
• The last time the Wolves played at Oklahoma City, Ricky Rubio hit the winning three-pointer with .2 of a second left in a 99-96 victory over Kevin Durant and Westbrook last March.
• Rubio did not accompany the Wolves to Oklahoma for this three-game trip that includes games at Brooklyn Tuesday and Orlando Wednesday.
• The Wolves’ slumber Friday night was disrupted by a 1 a.m. fire alarm at their Oklahoma City hotel.
• The Wolves flew to New York City after Saturday’s game and are scheduled to attend the Broadway musical Hamilton on Tuesday.
• Dunn on playing for Donovan four years ago: “We didn’t really build a relationship. I wasn’t there too long.”