60 IN SAN ANTONIO — Karl-Anthony Towns was scorching hot.
He finished with 60 points and 17 rebounds in an unforgettable win. There was no stopping him. KAT dropped a team-record 60 in what was the most dominant scoring performance of the NBA season—the most points in a game. The Wolves outlasted the Spurs 149-139 on Monday night because of it.
“I told coach [Chris Finch] before the game, ‘Listen, we need this win. I’ll do whatever it takes,’ ” said Towns. “If I need to play 44, 48 minutes, I’ll get it done. That was kind of the mindset I came in with.”
Towns was unquestionably at his best. He shot 19 for 31 and surpassed his previous career-best of 56 points against Atlanta on March 28, 2018, which had been the franchise mark. He became the first player with 60 points and 17 rebounds in a game since Shaquille O’Neal had 61 and 23 for the Los Angeles Lakers on March 6, 2000.
“None of this happens without my teammates really saying we want you to have a chance at history,” said Towns.
“The whole team was happy,” said Towns’ closest confidant in point guard D’Angelo Russell, who had 19 points. “Everybody was being selfless about it. I think that was more of what I appreciated. The performance was amazing, but everybody wanted to see it, too.”
Keldon Johnson scored 34 points, Dejounte Murray added 30 points and 12 assists, and Lonnie Walker IV scored 22. But the Spurs could never really deal with Towns’ greatness. Karl was simply too much and too good to handle.
“Karl was fantastic,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He drove it, he shot it—he always plays hard. He’s a hell of a player. It’s not like it was a surprise, but tonight he was special.” Towns scored 32 points in the third quarter and finished 7-for-11 on 3s.
“They were selling out to protect the rim with everything else we were trying to do,” coach Chris Finch said. “He had the matchup, and they didn’t have an answer for him. We definitely needed it and he stepped up.”
Finch told Towns to ‘“go get 60.”
“They just didn’t have an answer for him,” Finch said.
“So I just went out there, tried to be really aggressive,” Towns explained.
gonna be one of those nights, huh? pic.twitter.com/HBJ4qfqY2z— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 15, 2022
Wolves started 6-9 from deep in the first half before finishing 17-33. Towns delivered an incredible performance and took control of the show. He was at his very best, dominating the game and showing why he’s one of the league’s greatest scorers.
Towns shot 19 for 31 and grabbed 17 rebounds in surpassing his previous career-best of 56 points against Atlanta on March 28, 2018, which had been the franchise mark. Towns became the first NBA player with 60 points and 17 rebounds in a game since Shaquille O’Neal had 61 and 23 for the Los Angeles Lakers on March 6, 2000.
“So, I just went out there, tried to be really aggressive,” Towns explained.
“They didn’t really have a matchup for him,” said Finch. “I thought he did a really good job of mixing it job. ... His teammates did a really good job of stepping aside.”
Towns was the man tonight. 60 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists.
“For us, that just kind of fuels our fire,” says Finch. “He’s a mismatch problem for everybody,” said D’Lo. “I said on the bus yesterday we needed to lose that Orlando game,” Russell added. “Our Orlando game kind of put us back on our heels. ... It’s always defense for us going into these games.”
He broke the record tonight with 60 points. He had 56 before.
“56 was treated like another day,” says Towns.
But this isn’t another day or another game. This is a new Wolves and new Towns.