Karl-Anthony Towns had the saddest 62-point game ever

The Minnesota Timberwolves have been cruising all season. The Wolves grabbed the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference early in the season and haven’t let go of it yet, riding the league’s best defense powered by Rudy Gobert to the top of the standings.

It wasn’t long ago that the Wolves celebrated winning a play-in game like a championship. Their rise in the West has been the best story of the young season, though it’s naturally come with skeptics of how their style will translate to the playoffs. On Monday night, Minnesota saw how quickly a feel-good night could turn into a disaster.

Karl-Anthony Towns was having the game of his life when the Wolves hosted the Charlotte Hornets. KAT scored 22 points in the first quarter, then scored 22 points in the second quarter, to put him on track for a historic night.

The Hornets stunned the Wolves, 128-125, with a massive fourth quarter comeback. Towns would end up with a historic night, but it happened for all the wrong reasons.

Towns finished with 62 points on 21-of-35 shooting from the field and 10-of-15 shooting from three-point range. He grabbed eight rebounds, dished out two assists, and turned the ball over seven times. Minnesota led by 15 points going into the fourth quarter, but a combination of hero ball shot selection from Towns and some scorching shooting from Charlotte turned a 60+ point game into a black eye.

Charlotte outscored Minnesota 36-18 in the final frame. Towns shot 2-for-10 in the fourth quarter, forcing several shots late as the lead slipped through his team’s hands. Towns was also pulled off the floor momentarily in crunch-time, either because he was winded or because head coach Chris Finch didn’t like his defense.

After the game, Finch torched his team in the press conference, and seemed to be speaking indirectly to Towns. “It was an absolute disgusting performance of defense and immature basketball all the way through the game,” Finch said after the loss.

He kept going.

“Obviously we’re going to try to feed a hot hand, but at some point we have to get back to making right play, doing the right things. There’s a lot of ways to be immature, and there was a lot of immature performances throughout the roster. We totally disrespected the game, ourselves, and we got exactly what we deserved.”

Finch acknowledged that the game turned into Towns “trying to hunt a big number.” The second half felt like Minnesota was explicitly trying stat-pad Towns’ numbers, and it led the offense totally falling apart while the defense was never engaged in the first place.

Teammate Anthony Edwards admitted he wanted to see Towns score 100 points after the game. He agreed with his coach’s assessment that the Wolves played immature basketball.

Towns started off on fire. Hornets announcer Eric Collins was losing his mind at KAT’s shooting display:

Towns scored his final basket with just over 5:30 left in regulation. He wouldn’t score again:

KAT got one more chance at the end of the game and air-balled a tough look:

Towns is the fifth 60-point scorer of the last 30 years to lose the game. He finished the game with a zero plus/minus.

Watch the full highlights of Towns’ performance here:

“Having a night like that on a loss doesn’t feel very good or historic,” Towns said after the game.

“There’s no moral victories,” Towns said. “It was cool when we were saying that when we were 15-30.

The Hornets entered the night at 9-31. The Wolves were 30-12. On a night when Towns showed why he’s one of the best scoring big men alive, the Wolves walked away with a loss. Minnesota has had a great season, but it will be tough to flush this type of embarrassment.

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