Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns left the locker room after Monday night’s loss to the Kings before reporters entered. He didn’t feel much like talking after that debacle.
A day later at practice, Towns still didn’t want to say much.
There are times Towns, even after a loss, will flesh out his thoughts on what the Wolves need to do better, how they are committed to rebuilding the franchise and are sticking to the style of play and culture President Gersson Rosas and coach Ryan Saunders are building.
On Tuesday, Towns was terse and short in his answers, the most frustrated he has been this season in a public setting.
“No one wants to be a part of history, but we put ourselves in the history books for the wrong reason,” Towns said.
He might have been referring to the statistic from ESPN that said the Wolves were the first team in 8,379 tries to lose a game (since tracking began in 1996) after leading by 17 or more with three minutes remaining. Minnesota led 115-98 with 2:49 remaining but lost 133-129 in overtime.
The Wolves also led by 27 late in the third quarter and by nine with 41 seconds left in the fourth.
When asked how frustrated he was after Monday’s collapse, Towns replied: “What do you think?”
What needs to happen to get things moving in the right direction?
“We just all got to be committed to this and then go from there,” Towns said.
So do you think players aren’t committed?
“I think everyone’s committed,” Towns said. “We’ve got to be smarter. We’ve got to be smarter all around.”
This Wolves season has been filled with disappointing losses and now two double-digit losing streaks — one of 11 games in December, the current one reaching 10 games after Monday’s loss. There have been plenty of learning moments, but probably none more dramatic than against the Kings. Saunders said he was going to have a “healthy” film session at practice Tuesday.
“Right now we aren’t doing the things late in games to put ourselves in position to win on the defensive end, or the offensive end for that matter,” Saunders said. “So I know what I want our team’s identity to be and there’s growing points with that, but we need to make sure we speed up the process, too.”
As for the process, Towns still professed his faith in what the Wolves are doing, even as he spoke in a low volume that made it hard to hear.
“The system works,” Towns said. “That’s really it. It works. We’ve just got to fix it.”
Saunders said that includes getting back to a “defensive mind-set” they had in late December and early January when they had a 5-3 stretch after 11 consecutive losses.
“A lot of times, it’s situational in the second half when some of the teams start turning up the pressure offensively,” Saunders said. “It’s turning up the pressure defensively. Those are the things we’ve got to focus on.”
Unlike other times when the Wolves might have a game in two days or even the next night after a loss, they have four days off before they play again Saturday in Los Angeles against the Clippers. That means plenty of time for players to stew over a most painful loss.
“We’ve all been in the league. It’s about moving on,” Towns said. “It’s disappointing. It’s hard. It’s a hard loss to take.”
Not many in the regular season are tougher.