Karl-Anthony Towns seemed to make a revelation in the middle of his postagme press conference after Monday’s loss to Phoenix.
Towns was in the middle of doing what Minnesota always does when it puts forth a good effort, even in a loss — profusely patting the team on the back. It was deserved Monday.
Yes, it was a loss, but the Timberwolves went toe to toe with Phoenix, the defending Western Conference champ, and they did so without hitting shots, but instead by defending and rebounding.
“We’re proud of ourselves for battling. Our defense was amazing,” Wolves guard Malik Beasley said. “I feel like we did a great job.”
Towns was in the middle of sharing the same sentiment when he was asked how the Wolves can do what they have not done for quite some time — stack good performances on top of one another.
“That’s a great question. We gotta figure it out,” Towns said. “These kind of performances shouldn’t be something we come up here and talk about how proud we played tonight. It should be something that’s a standard.”
It hasn’t been to date. As Towns mentioned, simply playing hard is touted as a special feat. Winning a game? Victories, which have been few and far between, are almost deemed worthy of a parade.
The Timberwolves seem so satisfied with themselves after one sufficient effort that they don’t bother to show up for the next contest.
They followed an emotional win in Milwaukee by losing six straight games. One of those losses was a hard-fought defeat against Denver in a game that went down to the final buzzer. Two days later, they were smacked by Orlando.
Minnesota ended that losing streak with a convincing win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. The next night, in the same building, it was embarrassed by the Clippers.
Good performances have been the exception, not the rule. That trend needs to be reversed if Minnesota (4-9) is to do anything of consequence in its 2021-22 campaign.
“That’s something that we have to figure out ,and we have to instill,” Towns said.
No time like the present. If the Wolves play like they did Monday in each of their next four contests — against Sacramento on Wednesday at Target Center, followed by two more home contests against San Antonio and Memphis before traveling to New Orleans — they’ll win four straight.
But, as they’ve shown so frequently in their recent past, one great performance does not necessarily lead to another.
“That’s our challenge. It’s always been our challenge here,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “We’ve got a couple games at home here that we have to take advantage of. (Monday) was always going to be a tough game. But having said that, the result still stands what it is, and we’ve got to make up ground somewhere.”