LOS ANGELES – In his postgame video conference, Karl-Anthony Towns usually likes to look at a boxscore as he's giving his comments.
On Sunday, he took a quick glance at the paper, crumpled it up and threw it over his shoulder.
On paper, Sunday was never going to go well for the Timberwolves.
The Clippers are the No. 1 three-point shooting team in the league and entered Sunday shooting 42%. The Wolves have the worst three-point defense in the league as coach Chris Finch has focused on Minnesota improving its paint defense.
Sometimes, basketball really isn't that complicated.
The Clippers shot the lights out and shot the Wolves out of Staples Center in a 124-105 victory that wasn't as close as even that score indicated.
Los Angeles shot an impressive 21-for-42 from three-point range (50%) as the Wolves shot just 41% overall.
Paul George had 23 points to lead Los Angeles while Kawhi Leonard returned from a foot injury to score 15. There was no need for any Clippers starter to play the fourth quarter as Los Angeles led by as much as 38.
"Just didn't play hard enough and have that sense of urgency," Towns said. "We came in cool acting like we were supposed to get two in a row. Just wasn't the right way to approach the game."
Towns was referring to the Wolves' potential to start a winning streak after beating Miami on Friday. This team still hasn't won two games in a row since the first two of the season.
"I feel like we won one game and celebrate," said center Naz Reid (13 points). "It's not something that we're supposed to do."
Each time the Wolves win a game, they play with a sense of entitlement in the second game, and inevitably it haunts them on nights like Sunday, especially against a team as good as the Clippers.
"We always come in here and act like we got one win, we don't get many wins so there's no reason to have any type of cockiness or swagger to it," Towns said.
That lackadaisical attitude showed up on the defensive end, as it often does. Good three-point defense often begins with preventing dribble penetration, which leads to kickouts to open shooters, and that's where the defense broke down Sunday, Finch said.
"I didn't like our competitiveness on the ball all night long," Finch said. "I thought it was a little better in the second half, but by that time it was too late."
Towns had 16 points for the Wolves and came out in the fourth quarter after bumping knees with another player. He said after the game his knee was "good." He was more upset with how the Wolves played.
"I just saw the way we were approaching it," Towns said. "We approached it like we were the Clippers with the great record."
That would be 40-19 vs. 15-43.
"We weren't all the way into the game like we should've, from the beginning of the game, like we'd been against Miami," Reid said. "It's just something that we need to do from the beginning of the game, not when we're down 20 or whatever the case may be."
Or 30, or 38.
So many bad numbers appeared in that boxscore: one second-chance point for the Wolves; a 40-31 rebounding edge for Los Angeles, a margin that was worse when the game counted; and of course, Los Angeles' 50% three-point shooting.
No wonder Towns wanted to throw it away.
"Too much coolness and we got cooled down," Towns said.