Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

Thibodeau says Towns needs to 'be more active' after lackluster playoff debut

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While other young stars such as Ben Simmons and Donovan Mitchell put up monster numbers in their playoff debuts over the weekend, Karl-Anthony Towns was unusually quiet in his.

The Minnesota Timberwolves center was limited to eight points on 3-of-9 shooting in Sunday’s 104-101 loss to the Houston Rockets in Game 1. Head coach Tom Thibodeau credited his opponent for effectively switching and double-teaming Towns, but said the All-Star must be more aggressive and play through it.

“He’s got to be more active,” Thibodeau told reporters.

Towns’ offensive output in his playoff debut was a far cry from his average of 21.3 points on 14.3 shots over 82 games, which saw him finish with single-digit point totals just twice. The talented 22-year-old big man’s usage was 14.2 percent in 40 minutes – ranking seventh on the team behind multiple players he has no business deferring to – which is down from 22.9 percent during the regular season.


(Courtesy: NBA.com/Stats)

Asked specifically how Towns can be more active with Houston’s defense honed in on shutting him down, Thibodeau pointed to getting out in transition.

“You run the floor,” he said. “Kick the ball out, repost, keep moving around, search it out, get to the offensive board. You’ve got to sprint around. You learn when teams are double-teaming you – that’s what you have to do. You have to make the right play. You also have to get to positions in which it’s difficult for them to double-team. Transition’s a big part of that. You’ve got to run the floor.”

For his part, Towns owned up to his underwhelming performance.

“I’ve got to be better on both sides of the basketball,” he said. “I’ve got to be better all-around if I’m going to help my teammates out as much as possible.”

He and the Timberwolves will have a shot at redemption Wednesday in Game 2 in Houston.



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