TORONTO – Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns attempted eight shots — four in each half — during Monday’s 105-100 loss at Atlanta. The Hawks owned the NBA’s worst record at the time.
Is that enough?
“The game tells you who’s shooting the ball,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Monday’s game presumably dictated starting point guard Jeff Teague take 12 shots despite an ailing wrist and making one. Jimmy Butler went 7-for-15, Andrew Wiggins 8-for-14 and Taj Gibson 8-for-12, while Towns moved the ball out of double-teams and finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and three assists.
“When the second defender comes, he has to pass the ball,” Thibodeau said. “That’s what he has to do. The game tells you. I want him to make the right play. That’s the important thing. It’s not about shot attempts or if you call a play for someone, it’s his shot. Make the right play.
“You’re trying to make winning plays. That’s how basketball is played.”
Towns took only seven shots against the Raptors on Tuesday and still managed a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Love is all around
Wiggins received another warm ovation from the Air Canada Centre audience before his only game back home in Toronto this season. He scored 15 points.
“It’s always love coming back here, where I was born and raised,” he said. “I get the chance for my family and friends to come see me play. It’s not often they do. … Once the game is close down the stretch, they go for the Raptors. But it’s all love.”
Rookie center Justin Patton followed a weekend double-double — his first as a pro — with a 19-point, nine-rebound game for the Wolves’ Iowa G League team on Monday. He has been starting and recently has been playing about 25 minutes per game. Thibodeau said the team will reassess his situation once Patton’s minutes increase and the Wolves’ practice schedule returns to normal following a hectic January of 17 games.
“He’s making good, steady progress,” Thibodeau said. “We’ll see where he is shortly. He’s playing well. The big thing is his health, his conditioning. I think it’s better for him right now to be there. He’s getting experience there, which is the best way to learn.”
Just all bad
A night later, Thibodeau didn’t want to attribute Monday’s loss to an unforgivable five-second inbounds violation with 14.5 seconds left. He pointed instead to a lost 11-point, third-quarter lead.
“You don’t want to put it on one play at the end,” he said.
Teague said that Jamal Crawford was going to check into the game, then didn’t. Teague called the play in which he failed to inbounds the pass in time “just all bad.”
“We had a play that really was working well and that we wanted to go back to,” Thibodeau said. “It just didn’t work out.”
• Raptors coach Dwane Casey will be a head coach for his first All-Star Game, when he leads Team LeBron thanks to the East’s second-best record. “It’s great, more for our organization than anything else,” said Casey, the former Wolves coach whose Raptors also have Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan headed to L.A. “But we’ve got a lot of basketball to be played.”
• Pursued by the Wolves in free agency last summer, Raptors swingman C.J. Miles didn’t play because of a sore knee. Key reserve Fred VanVleet arrived just before game time after his fiancée was released from the hospital following the birth of their first child Sunday.
• Another former Wolves and Raptors coach, Sam Mitchell, was at Tuesday’s game and of course looked sharp, working his regular gig with Canadian sports network TSN.