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May 19, 2024

Towns Scores Franchise Record 62 Points But Timberwolves Fall to Hornets in Stunning Finish

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Jan 23, 2024

The Minnesota Timberwolves suffered an agonizing 128-125 defeat against the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night, despite a historic individual performance from center Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns scored a franchise record 62 points, including an unbelievable 44 points in the first half alone, but it wasn’t enough as the Hornets came back in the final minutes to pull off the upset.

Towns Dominates From the Opening Tip

Towns came out firing on all cylinders, determined to lead his team to victory. He scored 15 of the Timberwolves’ first 21 points, showcasing his versatile offensive skill set with thunderous dunks, soft floaters in the lane, and a pair of three-pointers.

The Hornets had no answers for the 7-foot Towns, who used his rare combination of size, length, and shooting touch to pick apart Charlotte’s defense. He finished the first quarter with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting as Minnesota built a 37-29 lead.

Somehow, Towns was even more dominant in the second quarter. He scored 24 more points, knocking down three more triples and even beating the halftime buzzer with an off-balance three-pointer from 30 feet to send the Timberwolves into the locker room with a 76-64 advantage.

Scoring by Quarter 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Karl-Anthony Towns 20 24 14 4 62

Towns joined elite company as one of only five players in the last 25 years to score 40+ points in a single half, per ESPN. His 44-point first half set a new Timberwolves franchise record for points in a half.

“I’ve never seen anything like that first half from Karl-Anthony Towns in my 15 years calling NBA games,” Hornets play-by-play announcer Eric Collins said during the League Pass broadcast. “He looked like he was playing on a NERF hoop in his driveway!”

Hornets Storm Back Behind Hayward and Rozier

Leading by 12 points entering the fourth quarter, it looked like the Wolves were well on their way to snapping a three-game losing skid. But that’s when the Hornets’ crunch-time duo of Gordon Hayward and Terry Rozier sprung into action.

Hayward took on a greater role as a playmaker, finding Rozier and other teammates for a flurry of three-pointers. After scoring just 12 points through the first three quarters, Rozier erupted for 20 points in the game’s final 12 minutes. His seventh triple of the night cut Minnesota’s lead to just one point with 37 seconds remaining.

On the next possession, Anthony Edwards turned the ball over and Rozier capitalized on the other end with a tough driving layup over Rudy Gobert to give Charlotte its first lead of the second half with 15 seconds left. Out of a timeout, D’Angelo Russell’s potential go-ahead three rimmed out. The Wolves were forced to foul Rozier, who iced the game at the free throw line.

Rozier finished with 41 points, his third straight game with 30+. Hayward added 21 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists as the Hornets won their fourth game out of their last five.

What This Means Going Forward

Despite Towns’ mammoth statistical output, this loss is undoubtedly a massive disappointment for Minnesota. They blew a late lead at home to a sub-.500 Hornets team playing without All-Star point guard LaMelo Ball.

With the NBA trade deadline just over two weeks away on February 9th, the front office will certainly feel increased pressure to upgrade the roster around Towns, Edwards, and Gobert. The Timberwolves are stuck in 10th place in the crowded Western Conference and don’t look like a sure bet to make the postseason.

As for the Hornets, this thrilling comeback win showed the resiliency and talent on their roster when fully healthy. Charlotte sits just one game back of the final play-in spot in the East. If Rozier and Hayward can build on their strong recent play and Ball returns from his ankle injury soon as expected, the Hornets could make a second-half push towards the playoffs.

All eyes now turn to Wednesday night, as the Timberwolves will look to bounce back at home against the struggling Houston Rockets. Meanwhile, the Hornets ride the momentum from this statement win into a Tuesday night matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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