PORTLAND, ORE. – Timberwolves coach Chris Finch isn't often one for sentimentality.

But after Thursday's 128-91 victory over the Trail Blazers, Finch offered himself a moment of reflection just before he boarded a flight to Indianapolis with Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns for this weekend's All-Star Game.

Finch will get to coach both Edwards and Towns on the Western Conference team, and after Thursday's game, he thought about how far the team has come since he took the job nearly three years ago, in late February 2021.

“I think it's great for our organization, an organization that's been downplayed and talked really bad about for a lot of years.”
Karl-Anthony Towns

Finch took over for Ryan Saunders midseason. Saunders was close with Karl-Anthony Towns, but from the get-go, Towns expressed support for Finch. That meant a lot to Finch at the time, and it still does. Finch remembers meeting the rookie version of Edwards, who was still in the process of figuring out his way in the NBA. To reach the All-Star Game with them three years later is "pretty special," Finch said.

"KAT was so, so gracious and welcoming to me. Anthony was just a bright-eyed rookie, and the mission was to help restore the team around KAT, make him the centerpoint, and then bring Anthony along," Finch said. "To be here a couple years later it's just such a credit and a tribute to them and their willingness to be coached and learn, grow and adapt and just all the things we've been through during that time.

"It's going to be really cool."

Towns was also reflective after Thursday's game. This will be his fourth All-Star appearance, but this one carries a little extra significance for him. In previous seasons, Towns posted numbers that were All-Star-worthy. This season, he is still an efficient offensive player, but his overall totals were down compared to his other three seasons that led to All-Star appearances. This season he has ceded some of the grip on the offense to Edwards.

So for Towns, Sunday's appearance is a bit of validation that the league has taken notice of his sacrificing individual accolades in the name of helping his team win.

"What's special about this one is I found a place where we could win at a high level, and I still find ways to produce for this team that leads to success for our team, and to be recognized for that is really special," Towns said. "Throughout my career, I've always wanted to win, always wanted to win here. I've done my darndest to do it, even when my body didn't feel right, my mind didn't feel right, I went out there and gave everything I had, and to be recognized for the sacrifices I had to make for this team to be in the position it's in now … it speaks a lot and means a lot to me and it's humbling for me to know."

Towns and Edwards will be doing more than playing in the All-Star Game. Towns will try to win his second Three-Point Contest after taking the crown two seasons ago while Edwards, who is playing in his second All-Star Game, will take part in the Skills Competition.

Then on Sunday they get to have a little fun. Edwards has joked he can't wait to see how Finch reacts to the shot selection in the All-Star Game, while adding how great it is that his coach will be with him in his first "real" All-Star appearance. (Edwards made last year's game as an injury replacement.) It will all culminate Sunday night, which Towns said should be a moment of pride for the organization.

"It's awesome to have my partner in crime over there [Edwards] be able to join," Towns said. "... to go together and have Finchy with us and the coaching staff and in-arena team and everything. I think it's great for our organization, an organization that's been downplayed and talked really bad about for a lot of years. So for us to have this moment I think we should relish it, enjoy it."