LOS ANGELES – Karl-Anthony Towns reached over the front row to embrace his father after leading the Timberwolves to a 121-104 Christmas win over the Timberwolves.
“He was pretty sweaty,” Karl Anthony Towns Sr. said to his wife and the Minnesota center’s girlfriend.
The younger Towns certainly had reason to be drenched. Finishing with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, he repeatedly came up big in the fourth quarter despite playing nearly 40 minutes.
But Towns wasn’t ready for a break yet. He ran toward Shaquille O’Neal, who sat courtside to do TV work.
“Hey, Shaq!” Towns yelled. “Hey, Shaq!”
Finally getting Shaq’s attention, Towns emulated the Omega Psi Phi hooks Shaq flashed after dunking on David Robinson in the 1996 All-Star game:
“I’m great friends with Shaq. My mother and his mother are best friends,” Towns said. “It’s always good to have that Jersey love in the house.”
Towns had his own highlight dunk Monday, slamming on Corey Brewer:
Then, when the Lakers made a late push, Towns blocked shots on consecutive possessions to preserve Minnesota’s fourth straight win.
“It’s the fourth quarter. It’s Christmas Day,” Towns said. “You have to end the game on a rightful note.”
This is the Timberwolves’ first Christmas win after the franchise made its Christmas debut with a loss at Oklahoma City last year. Two of Tom Thibodeau’s Chicago imports, Jimmy Butler (23 points and eight assists) and Taj Gibson (23 points and nine rebounds), are clearly pushing the franchise forward.
Maybe Towns won’t even have to import his family, immediate and extended, to Minnesota’s next Christmas game. Perhaps, this franchise even gets to host one.
But no matter the location, Towns is ready for more spotlight games – and more wins.
“This won’t be the first and only one that we ever win,” Towns said. “We’ll have a lot more opportunities, I’m banking on, to do this again and again and again.”