Towns Sets Franchise Points Record
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns scored a franchise-record 56 points and added 15 rebounds for his league-leading 63rd double-double, and the Timberwolves beat the Hawks 126-114 on Wednesday night.
"I just realized the ball kept coming to me more and more often," Towns said. "I guess that was a sign to shoot the ball. Everyone just kept telling me, 'You need six more, you need eight more, for 50.' I wasn't really thinking about that. I was just trying to find a way to win."
Towns was 6 of 8 from 3-point range and added four assists for Minnesota, which recovered after a disappointing loss Monday to the lowly Memphis Grizzlies and trailing last-place Atlanta throughout the first quarter.
Towns shot 19 of 32 from the field and 12 of 15 from the free throw line. He had 30 points and 11 rebounds in the second half.
"You just start passing, sitting back and just watching," teammate Andrew Wiggins said. "Just watching the show."
Wiggins added 17 points and Jeff Teague had 11 points and eight assists for the Timberwolves, who avoided a third straight loss by shooting 53.3 percent, including 13 of 30 from behind the arc. Minnesota (43-33) pulled ahead of Utah into seventh place in the West after the Jazz lost at home to Boston.
Mike Muscala had a career-high 24 points off the bench for Atlanta, which stayed within striking distance of the Wolves by hitting 13 of 27 from 3. Dewayne Dedmon had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks. Atlanta has lost 10 of its past 11 games.
"We went on a good little run there," Muscala said. "I thought we moved it well in transition and got some good looks from 3 and everything, and guards did a good job penetrating, finding open shooters and finishing at the rim. But yeah, obviously huge game for KAT and they also hit some really timely 3s, too."
The Wolves stretched the lead to 16 in the second half, but the Hawks started to chip away in the fourth. Isaiah Taylor had nine points and Atlanta went on a 14-4 run to close within 110-104 on a 3 by Muscala.
Towns missed five shots during the run. But he went back to work and finished with his first 50-point game and the fourth in team history.
"I think the biggest thing that stands out is the way he shot the 3-ball," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "To go 6 for 8, his size, is just impressive. Then he gets fouled on a 3-point shot, that's 21 points right there just outside the 3-point line for a guy that's 6-10, 6-11, 7-feet, whatever he is."