When the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves faced off for the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference on Tuesday, Karl-Anthony Towns was a complete non-factor. In 24:17, Towns was held to 11 points on 3-11 shooting from the field. He also posted a team-worst -14 in the box score before fouling out with 7:34 left in the fourth quarter.
And yet, the Timberwolves won Tuesday’s game 109-104 despite the fact that they were down by seven points when Towns exited the game. That alone was enough for Towns to call the Clippers’ game plan for him a failure.
“It didn’t work,” Towns told reporters on Thursday. “It doesn’t irritate me at all. I went home very happy.”
Towns did shout out the Clippers for doing “the best all year out of everybody” with taking him out of the game and forcing him to pass, but it was clear Towns was bothered by the idea that Timberwolves were better with him off of the floor — even though statistically, they were — or that his opposition got the best of him.
Tyronn Lue also quick to gave credit to his team for their job on Towns after Tuesday night’s contest but acknowledged that he should have been quicker to adjust to the Timberwolves’ other offensive weapons when Towns fouled out.
“When he went out, they kind of switched,” Lue said. “D’Lo is the guy I was worried about them coming to because he’s aggressive. D’Lo was the one that I was scared he could take over the game. He did that.
“I should have did a better job adjusting, blitz a little bit more, try to get the ball out of his hands. He was pretty aggressive and was able to carry them home.”
The Clippers will see another trio of dynamic scorers in CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas on Friday, when they’ll host the New Orleans Pelicans for an elimination play-in game. Hopefully Lue and the Clippers can learn from the mistakes they made on Tuesday.