Karl-Anthony Towns turned in one of the most remarkable offensive performances in NBA history on Monday night, scoring a franchise-record 62 points for the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, it still wasn’t enough, as the Charlotte Hornets mounted an improbable comeback to stun the Wolves 128-125.
Towns Channels His Inner Wilt Chamberlain
Towns simply could not be stopped against the Hornets, making 22 of 35 field goals and converting 7 of 11 three-point attempts. He set a number of team records along the way:
- 62 points overall is a new Timberwolves franchise mark, breaking the previous high of 56 shared by Towns and Mo Williams
- 44 points in the first half sets a new Timberwolves record for any half
- His 10 three-pointers made ties a franchise record
Most impressively, Towns scored an astounding 27 points in the third quarter alone. As Timberwolves broadcaster Jim Petersen exclaimed, “Karl-Anthony Towns has gone crazy! He’s gone berserk!”
Towns joins Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Thompson, George Gervin and Elgin Baylor as the only players in NBA history with 60+ points through three quarters. At that point, he was well on pace to top Bryant’s iconic 81-point game.
|PTS Through 3 Qtrs
But Towns cooled off slightly in the fourth quarter, scoring just 8 points over the final 8 minutes as the Hornets battled back. Still, his overall performance ranks as one of the best the league has seen in years.
Hornets Rally From 17 Down in 4th Quarter
Despite Towns’ brilliance, the Hornets refused to go away. They trimmed a 17-point Timberwolves lead down to one possession in the final minute, as Terry Rozier knocked down a clutch three to make it 127-125 with just 7.4 seconds left.
Minnesota’s D’Angelo Russell then missed two critical free throws, setting the stage for Rozier to drive for the game-winning bucket with 1.3 seconds on the clock.
The Hornets capped an unbelievable 39-point fourth quarter, erasing what should have been an insurmountable deficit. It’s tied as the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise history.
Rozier scored 10 of his 41 points in the final 2:44 to will Charlotte to victory. LaMelo Ball added 21 points.
Bitter Disappointment for Towns, Timberwolves
The loss is crushingly disappointing for Towns and the struggling Timberwolves, who recently fired head coach Chris Finch. They blew a chance to get a much-needed win.
After the game, Anthony Edwards criticized his teammates’ “immaturity” down the stretch while interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said the Wolves “disrespected the game” in the final minutes.
For Towns, his individual brilliance will ultimately feel hollow without the victory to show for it. He joins an ignominious list of over 20 players in NBA history to lose a game immediately after scoring 60+ points.
Still, Towns and the Timberwolves will aim to quickly move on from this loss. At 25-22 overall, they remain in position to compete for a play-in berth in the Western Conference.
The good news is that if Towns can continue playing at this MVP level offensively, Minnesota should remain firmly in the playoff mix over the season’s second half. But closing out tight games down the stretch remains an area that must be improved.
What This Means Going Forward
For the Timberwolves, this loss highlights their inability to pull out close contests. Their leaky defense and turnover issues were evident even on a historic night from Towns. Minnesota likely needs another roster shakeup and improved chemistry to take the next step.
For the Hornets, their epic comeback shows the fight left in this group amid a rebuilding year. Rozier is putting together a potential All-Star campaign, while Ball’s growth as a scorer and playmaker has him looking like a future franchise cornerstone.
As for Towns, this performance only raises the ceiling on what he may be capable of achieving over the remainder of his prime. Could more explosive 60, 70 or even 80-point explosions be in store if he maintains this aggressiveness? The league is on notice – Towns is capable of joining the pantheon of all-time great scorers on any given night.
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