In his return to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns can’t ask for a much better opportunity that he is finally back and ready to make a tear.
Shrugging off any pressure as he played for the first time since being out in late November from his calf injury, Towns calmly sank two clutch free throws to put the Wolves atop of the Hawks, 125-124.
As they were down by a point, head coach Chris Finch called for Towns to take the ball in his hands in the final sequence. As he drove hard over John Collins, the star big man clinched a foul with 3.6 seconds left and proceeded to seal the deal for his club.
At the postgame, Towns made sure to tip off his hat to his optimistic mentor.
“Shoutout to Finch having that confidence in me after 51 games and all of the things I had to deal with,” said Towns, via AP’s Brian Hall. “I just knew in my bones I wasn’t going to miss.”
Towns finished with 22 points and four boards, an uplifting performance after a challenging setback he experienced in January from his calf injury.
He also logged 26 minutes and finished with 8-for-18 shooting, which the Wolves expect to get even better as their cornerstone starts to ramp up moving forward to continue their initial goal of advancing to the playoffs.
“I was smiling a lot. Just in my mind. I know on the court, it probably didn’t show it,” Towns said. “But even before I got the ball with seven seconds left, I was smiling. Just had a good feeling the game was going to go the way I wanted it to.”
The Timberwolves hold their seventh spot in the tight Western Conference with a 37-37 record. They will face a daunting opponent next in the Golden State Warriors on the weekend.