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Karl-Anthony Towns

Karl-Anthony Towns heads to Western Conference Finals

Timberwolves return to Western Conference Finals for first time in 20 years

From winning the 2016 Rookie of the Year to being diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his left knee this year, Karl-Anthony Towns has battled through adversity since he was drafted first overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015. Now, he is living in the moment and enjoying it.

On Sunday night, with a comeback for the ages against the defending NBA champions, Towns added a signature moment to his career reaching the Western Conference Finals.

“For me being here in nine years, I’ve seen everything and seen it all,” Towns said after beating the Denver Nuggets 98-90 in Game 7. “To be here this year with these guys, this team, after all that, it’s just super special.”

It had been 20 years ago since the 2004 Minnesota Timberwolves made the franchise’s first and only Western Conference Finals appearance. Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett led the Wolves to a 83-80 victory over the Sacramento Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals. 

Drought over

The Timberwolves faced another winner-take-all Game 7 against the Nuggets, Sunday night. They were down 20 points with 10:48 remaining in the third quarter. Immediately, the Timberwolves started to prioritize defense, rebounding, passing the ball to the open man, and knocking down quality shots.

Minnesota’s 20-point comeback was the biggest in Game 7 history. The second half was just a prime example of Timberwolves basketball.

“We started hitting some shots, playing some defense, even better at a higher level,” Towns said after the Timberwolves’ 98-90 win over the defending champions. “I think this was just a real showing of Timberwolves basketball at its finest, where it’s a team effort. … Like I said, we don’t have a big three, we have a big 15.”

Timberwolves’ young star, Anthony Edwards struggled to score throughout the game. However, power forward Jaden McDaniels and Towns stepped up offensively for the team. Both players led the team in scoring with 23 points.

Towns, whose late mother was from the Dominican Republic, grabbed 12 rebounds, two assists, and shot 57 percent from the field. Defensively, he recorded two steals and one block.


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In his 27th career playoff game, KAT gathered his 18th career postseason double-double. The Dominican American has been paired with many NBA superstars in his career such as 2022 NBA champion Andrew Wiggins, six-time All-Star Jimmy Butler, and the Big Ticket, Garnett. 

Karl-Anthony Towns learned from Garnett

In KG’s last year in the league, Towns was a rookie. Both men competed in practice, and Garnett would inform Towns of the mistakes he’s made. Towns, who plays power forward, learned so much from the 2004 MVP, and wanted to improve his craft every season. 

Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch has coached against Towns as an assistant and associate head coach with four different teams. Finch was hired as the Timberwolves’ head coach in 2021.

“I think you see how at peace and happy (Towns) is right now,” Finch said. “He had to trust that he was never going to be marginalized. All young players always think that they can do it all by themselves, but in this league nobody can.

“Last series he guarded (Kevin) Durant, this series was (Nikola) Jokic. … Couldn’t be more happy and proud for him just because I think he’s faced a lot of unfair criticism when it comes to the postseason at times. But the more you go through these things, the more experience you have, and the more peace you are.”

The Wolves will welcome the fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks to the Target Center, Wednesday night.

Towns, 28, is ready to make his Western Conference Finals debut and make a statement early on in the best-of-seven-series.

“As long as we play Timberwolves-branded basketball,” Towns said, “I think I like our chances.”

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