The first taste of the NBA playoffs for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns has been rather bitter, thanks to the three-point-happy Houston Rockets.
The two-game totals tell a frustrating story for the 22-year-old: just 13 points, 5-for-18 shooting and a 2-0 deficit in the series against the Rockets. Towns has found himself the subject of pointed criticism from analysts, fans and even his own team.
The switch-heavy Rockets have double-teamed the former University of Kentucky star to a stifling effect, and the Timberwolves sure haven’t helped their 7-footer out by getting him the ball in favorable situations in the post.
“They’re coming to double. He knows that. He has to face up, be strong with the ball, make quick moves,” point guard Jeff Teague said. “But we have to figure out how to get him running, get him some easy buckets.”
The team’s struggles have taken a little luster off Minnesota’s first postseason home game in 14 years, but the fans who remember the Timberwolves reaching the Western Conference finals in 2004 will surely be eager to witness the playoffs in person no matter the daunting challenge in this first round.
“This organization, all of our fans, they deserve this moment,” Towns said.
And they want a win.
The Timberwolves host the Rockets on Saturday night in Game 3. Earlier in the day, Miami takes on Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference and New Orleans hosts Portland, both in Game 4. Later, Utah visits Oklahoma City in Game 3.
Towns tried his best to shrug off the bad vibes and stinging rebukes when speaking with reporters on Friday.
“You dwell too much on the past, you forget that you’ve got to take care of the present,” Towns said.
The chatter on TV and Twitter, he said, has escaped him.
“I live my life very Amish-like,” Towns said. “Other than video games, I don’t think I have a reason for electronics. It’s a life that I’ve always loved.”