* Tonight on NBA TV: Thunder vs. Timberwolves (8 ET)
There’s no reason to panic about the state of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Yes, they’ve lost two in a row, but that’s all part of the growing pains young teams in the NBA face as they try to reach playoff status.
Timberwolves youngster and star big man Karl-Anthony Towns, though, is cautious to let any of this recent losing seep deeper into the team than it needs to. As the Wolves prepare for the high-octane Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, Towns is expecting much more from himself going forward, writes Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune:
Towns has delivered double-double games in points and rebounds in four of the first five games but has been unimpressed with his play.
“I’ve just got to be better all around, everywhere,” he said. “I’m not my best right now. I’m not, and it hurts. So I’ve got to go back to the drawing board and find a way to play better. I’ve got to be more of a factor, and I’ve got to find ways. The team looks at me for a lot and right now in my opinion, I’m not delivering. I’ve got to find ways.”
Towns shot 2-for-10 on threes in the season’s first four games before he went 3-for-6 at Detroit during his 23-point, 10-rebound performance.
“I ain’t no quitter, I’m a competitor,” Towns said after the game in the Pistons’ new Little Caesars Arena. “I compete at the highest level every single night, regardless what the outcome is. I’ve got to be better. I’m motivated. I’ve got to take that next step, not only as an offensive-defensive player but as a leader.”
Slimmed down to a svelte 218 pounds, Shabazz Muhammad was arguably the Wolves’ best player in the preseason, but he has shot a combined 4-for-19 in four of the team’s first five games.
“I’m not playing well, I don’t know what it is,” Muhammad said. “I’m missing shots I usually make, especially inside. Some of them are just point-blank — hooks that I make, stuff that I work on and make. I’m going to get in the gym and work it out, figure it out and turn it around.
“I played well in camp, but it happens. It’s a long season. I just have to stay positive and figure things out. Let things change.”
When asked about Muhammad’s struggles, Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau delivered a similar answer as he has about Wiggins, Towns and others in the past.
“We have to have an understanding if you’re not shooting well, you can still play well,” Thibodeau said. “There are other ways to contribute, and so that’s what he has to do. He has proved he’s more than capable offensively. Right now, the ball is not going in for him. But there are other things he can do that can help us and that’s what we need him to do.”
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