LOS ANGELES - Three Timberwolves players — D'Angelo Russell, Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns —spoke to the media after the team's 123-110 loss to Golden State on Wednesday.
There was a noticeable difference in tone between Russell and Edwards' words and those of Towns.
Both Russell and Edwards expressed optimism after the loss.
"I think we got better today, honestly," Russell said.
Edwards scored a career-high 48 points and said his teammates' desire to make a second-half push inspired him to keep attacking the basket.
"Just seeing everybody keep fighting, keep going, that's growth, I feel like," Edwards said.
You wouldn't have known the Wolves had just lost their sixth consecutive game to fall to 3-7 by listening to Russell and Edwards.
"We only think of six in a row when you say it," Russell told a media member.
Contrast that with Towns, who can give verbose answers in news conferences, even after a tough loss. Wednesday night he didn't feel much like waxing poetic when discussing the frustration of a sixth consecutive loss while saying the Wolves played with effort and fought in their second-half comeback.
"Just want to win. I can't elaborate too much on that," Towns said. "I just want to win. We got to play to get our respect. We're just not getting it."
Only Towns knows if there was a bit of performance behind his quiet, sullen demeanor after the game. There have been plenty of moral victories in Towns' previous six seasons, five of which have fallen short, often well short, of .500. Moral victories don't quite have the same satisfaction as actual ones.
Russell has been with the organization less than two years. Edwards for only one. They haven't endured all the losing Towns has with the Wolves, losing that has accompanied multiple regime changes and multiple coaching changes only for the organization to end up back at the starting line — and always in need of another restart.
Towns referenced all that during his comments at media day before training camp as he said instability "has been something that's very constant with my career here," even as he doubled down on his commitment to win in Minnesota.
The institutional baggage could weigh on Towns, and it can show up in moments like Wednesday.
'Whatever my team asks me to do I'm going to do," Towns said. "There's a lot of places in the game that could've changed the game, but it is what it is. Got to move on to the next one."
Last week after the Wolves lost their third in their recent streak, Towns referenced how quickly he has seen seasons take a dramatic turn downward.
"If I know one thing about slides here in Minnesota, it could go from three to 18 to 19, 20 really quick," Towns said.
He wasn't as downtrodden as he was Wednesday. Perhaps his teammates can help the defeats from becoming defeatist.
Most NBA teams encounter slides at different times of the season. Coach Chris Finch has tried to put a positive spin on it by saying maybe this is just the Wolves' time to go through that.
Towns has seen enough to know that might not be true, that it could be a harbinger of doom ahead.
Maybe it won't be, especially with how Edwards played in scoring 48 points.
"We're going into Los Angeles with a great mind," Edwards of their upcoming set of games against the Lakers and Clippers. "Not like how we left when we lost to Orlando or Denver. Tonight we're not like in the locker room, head down, nothing like that."
It didn't seem easy for Towns to keep his up.