Former Kentucky stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Julius Randle were part of the Las Vegas Summer League's marquee matchup on Day 1 of the event on Friday night. Towns' Minnesota Timberwolves defeated Randle's Los Angeles Lakers 81-68.
Towns, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, scored 12 points in his debut. He also had three rebounds, four assists and one blocked shot.
"In the beginning, I was very nervous," Towns said on NBA TV after the game. "Can't lie. I had a lot of butterflies. ... I took my first step into the NBA. I got more and more comfortable as the game went along."
Towns encountered a lot of double teams, and his battle in the paint with the Lakers' Robert Upshaw was rough at times.
"That's what happens when you play at the University of Kentucky," he said. "Everyone's coming at you. ... I had a lot of fun, and the best thing's that we came out with a "W."
Towns played just under 32 minutes.
"I think the biggest thing I learned tonight was how to play 32 minutes," Towns said, according to a report on NBC Sports' website. "I'm used to a platoon system — 19 minutes, 20 minutes, playing in five-minute spurts. I was playing 10, 11 minutes straight (tonight). It's different obviously, I'm not gonna lie. But the platoon definitely saved my legs for the league and I'm more than glad we did that system." Randle, who fractured his right tibia in his NBA debut for the Lakers last season, was playing in his first organized game since his leg injury.
He had 11 points, one rebound and one blocked shot. He was limited to 20-plus minutes of playing time while working his way back.
"It felt great," Randle said. "I was definitely rusty. I really didn't catch a rhythm until the end. ... For me, my biggest thing was 'slow down.' Obviously, me out for so long I was anxious."
Randle is expected to miss Saturday's game for precautionary reasons.
"You think I like it?" he said when asked about resting Saturday. "I don't. No, I don't like it. I want to get out there and I want to play. But the best thing is to listen to my training staff, listen to my doctors and the coaches. They know what's best for me."
Mark Madsen, the Lakers' summer league coach, liked what he saw from Randle.
"Julius is continuing to find his rhythm," Madsen said. "I think we need to put him in situations and spots on the court where it's harder for them to send a double team. ... Twenty minutes was the target for tonight for Julius. For a first game back, he did a lot of positive things."
Louisville native D'Angelo Russell, the No. 2 pick in this year's draft, added eight points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals for the Lakers.
Former Murray State standout Ivan Aska had four points for the Timberwolves.