LOS ANGELES — On the surface, it sounds like Timberwolves coach Chris Finch was stating the obvious when he said the team wants Anthony Edwards to play every night like he did Wednesday when he scored 48 points in a loss to Golden State. Who wouldn't?
But Finch said the key takeaway he wants Edwards to remember was the mind-set and style of basketball he played to get to that 48 points and play like that every night. In other words — be aggressive, drive to the basket and let the points fall where they may. That's where Edwards was at the end of last season and where Finch sees him returning now.
"The manner in which he played needs to stay consistent and as he finished last season, I would say three out of four games playing that way," Finch said before Friday's game against the Lakers. "He didn't start the season that way. So it was a regression for him, but the last couple of games, he's back to what makes him a special player in terms of getting downhill, taking rhythm shots in the flow of the offense."
That was the formula Edwards followed against Golden State.
Last week, Edwards said it takes a lot of effort and can be "tiring" to drive to the basket as much as the team might want him to, but after Wednesday's performance he had a different viewpoint.
"What I said last week, I sounded like a loser," Edwards said Wednesday. "When you determined, I mean, you just got to keep going. [Wednesday] I just kept going. I'm going to make you make a call. Whether you make it or not, I'll live with me missing at the rim and you not making a call. I live with leaving it up to the refs. If I do that, I did my job."
Finch said Edwards wanted to show off some of the things he had been working on over the summer and in the process "kind of forgot who he really is and what makes him so dynamic." Of late, Edwards has started remembering.
"It's just a game of patterns and it's pattern recognition," Finch said. "Once you've been in it long enough, you can kind of feel your way, manipulate the floor a little bit more. I don't think he's at that stage just yet. I think he sees it in spots, which is fine. We're fine with that."
Towns' post problems
So far this season, Karl-Anthony Towns has struggled with his back to the basket in the post. Towns faces frequent double teams and is averaging 3.9 turnovers per game. Among other big men, Towns is in the 16th percentile (with 100 being the best) in turnover percentage, according to the advanced statistical website Cleaning the Glass.
When asked to evaluate how Towns is playing in the post now, Finch said, "Tough living right now, you know?"
"We've studied it and just not getting a lot of production out of it and I think his finishing could be a little better," Finch said. "I think we can get him to go maybe a little quicker, but by the same token, he's not getting a lot of the benefit of the doubt down there."
Finch has mentioned multiple times this season that officials aren't doing Towns any favors.
If officials won't change, Towns has to change his style in the post. To do that, Finch and the team have suggested a few adjustments.
"He's got to be a little simpler, safer and quicker with the ball," Finch said. "We've talked about that. He recognizes it. … You just kind of go quick, clean, and then put the onus on the official to judge the contact without a lot of flopping or flailing or any of those types of things.
"People try to wrestle him off his spot, and there's just some of that that's going to be a part of it, but he needs to break free from that and use some of his skills."