Wolves 2-0 going into Sunday's home opener against Miami

Wolves honor former coach following Friday's win at Charlotte

October 26, 2019 - 7:23 am
Timberwolves get big production from Karl-Anthony Towns

Streeter Lecka / Getty Images


   CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Timberwolves took time out from celebrating the present and hoping for the future to remember a key member of the team's heritage.

   Following Friday's 121-99 win at Charlotte, the Wolves presented the game ball to coach Ryan Saunders.

   The special moment in the Wolves' victorious locker room came four years after the death of their coach's father, former coach and executive Flip Saunders.


   "The motto is `us,' and when someone feels something and is having a moment, we want to be helpful in that moment," Towns said. "We thought it was very important as a team. Me personally, I got our guys understanding how important this game is, four years from the day, we've got to win this for him. We've got to take care of our leader."

   Saunders' assistants also gave their boss a large sheet cake after the game.

   Cake was one of Flip Saunders' favorites.

   "I know he's smiling," Towns said. "His son's doing really well, a tremendous job."

   Towns had 37 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, and the Minnesota Timberwolves remained unbeaten with their second straight road win to start the season.

   Without center Cody Zeller, who missed the game due to undisclosed personal reasons, the Hornets were forced to turn to Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez to defend the two-time All-Star. Towns took full advantage, finishing 13 of 18 from the field while using his big frame create space inside. He also drained four 3-pointers.

   Saunders said he wants his team working on a balanced inside-outside attack, but admitted "the fact that there was not a defender like Cody Zeller on the court tonight - and obviously our prayers are with him - we went inside a little more."

   Andrew Wiggins added 16 points for Minnesota, which outscored Charlotte 45-25 in the third quarter to break open a two-point game.

   Towns said he felt like he needed to take control when the Timberwolves fell behind 12-2 after missing 7 of 8 shots to open the game.

   "That's where I have to do my job and get people buckets and get us going by drawing a lot of attention and making the right pass," Towns said.

   Said Minnesota guard Josh Okogie: "This was a regular night for KAT. I definitely know that he can definitely do more, so I'm definitely excited to see what he can do this season."

   Saunders said his team's defense fueled the offense in the decisive third quarter.

   "We feel confident that even when we're missing shots, we were generating good looks and we just needed some to fall, but really our defense fueled our offense," Saunders said.


   The Timberwolves outrebounded the Hornets 52-42. ... Shabazz Napier had nine assists.


   Minnesota turned 20 Charlotte turnovers into 21 points. The Hornets, who played eight players with less than three years of NBA experience, have now turned the ball over 39 times in two games.

   "We're gonna get smacked in the mouth a few times, it's how you respond," said Hornets coach James Borrego.


   After two road wins the Timberwolves host the Heat in their home opener Sunday.


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