Karl-Anthony Towns is the hero in his return as Timberwolves top Atlanta
Towns finished with 22 points on 8-for-18 shooting. And he made the game-tying and game-winning free throws.
MINNEAPOLIS -- After missing the previous 52 games with a calf strain suffered in late November, Karl-Anthony Towns made his much-anticipated return to action Wednesday in front of a packed Target Center crowd eager to see its all-star big back in uniform.
He did not disappoint.
While appearing to be short of wind at various points, Towns’ production was strong throughout. He made his first two 3-point tries and showed few to no signs of rust. Towns finished with 22 points on 8-for-18 shooting, and Minnesota outscored Atlanta by 13 during his 26 minutes of action.
And with 3.6 seconds left and Minnesotan trailing by a point, Towns drove from the middle of the floor and drew a foul on John Collins, sending him to the line with a chance to win the game.
He drilled them both.
Minnesota then got a stop on the other end to seal a 125-124 victory over the Hawks in downtown Minneapolis.
“This is what movies are made of,” Towns said in his postgame television interview.
Naz Reid led the Wolves with 26 points, one more than teammate Jaden McDaniels. Rudy Gobert recorded a double-double for the Wolves, with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Wolves shot 48% percent from the floor, including 42% from behind the arc.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 29 points.
Heading into the contest, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch noted the expectations were for the 7-footer to “settle” into the game.
“Not try to do too much at this point in time. Most importantly, knock the rust off, certainly want him to be himself, but not at the expense of what we’re trying to do out there,” Finch said pre-game. “I think that’s a pretty easy ask for him. Of course, nobody comes back from missing 50 games without some sort of limitations. We’ll definitely be operating under those pretenses.”
Towns said there were long days and longer nights, “but guess what, all I could think about was coming back to Target Center.
“KAT,” the big said, “is back. … Yuh, yuh, yuh.”
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