Karl-Anthony Towns drops career-high 62 points as Hornets spoil historic outing for Timberwolves

The Hornets rallied out of a 15-point hole to steal the 128-125 win on Monday night at the Target Center

Karl-Anthony Towns nearly upstaged Joel Embiid on Monday night.

Yet somehow, despite a career outing, Towns couldn’t lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a win.

Towns put up a career-high and franchise-record 62 points in what was a historic performance at the Target Center. Yet the Timberwolves stumbled late, and Towns seemed to hit a wall, which allowed the Charlotte Hornets to rally out of a 15-point hole and steal the 128-125 win and spoil his night.

Towns dropped 44 of his points in the first half and made eight straight 3-pointers to start the night. His final 3 of the first half came from just inside the Timberwolves’ halfcourt logo, too. He was feeling it.

Towns missed just three total shots in the first half, and only his last 3-point attempt of the second quarter was off the mark. His 44 points were the most scored in the first half anywhere in the league since the 1996-97 season.

Despite a ridiculous opening 24 minutes from Towns, the Timberwolves took just a five-point lead into halftime. The Hornets, behind 17 first-half points from Miles Bridges, wouldn’t go away.

Towns, T-Wolves hit a wall in the second half

Towns surpassed the 50-point mark just minutes into the third quarter, which he did on a massive dunk along the baseline.

The Timberwolves closed out the third quarter on a 14-5 run, which gave them a 15-point cushion entering the final period. Towns got to 58 points through three quarters, and the win seemed within their reach.

Towns matched his career high with a right-handed hook shot early in the fourth quarter, though he missed his next four shots — which opened the door for the Hornets. They quickly cut the game to just five points midway through the fourth quarter and got it back to a single possession after a Timberwolves timeout to close what was an extended 13-3 run.

Finally, Towns set his new career high and broke the Hornets’ run. He caught a pass at the top of the key and drove right to the rim before sinking a contested layup to hit 62 points. That was it for him the rest of the way.

The Hornets responded and finally retook the lead off a Nick Smith corner 3-pointer. They pushed that lead to five points with just more than a minute left, and then stopped a Towns potential game-winning layup attempt in the final seconds to seal the win. Towns thought he was fouled on the final shot, but he didn't get the call.

“It was an absolute disgusting performance of defense and immature basketball all the way through the game,” an angry Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said. “So it really didn’t slip away. It had been there from the jump, so this is what happens when you have this type of approach.”

Bridges led the Hornets with 28 points and five rebounds, and Brandon Miller had 27 points. LaMelo Ball finished with 18 points and 13 assists for Charlotte, which shot better than 58% from the field as a team. The win was the Hornets’ 10th of the season.

Towns finished with 62 points, eight rebounds and two assists. He shot 21-of-35 from the field, and went 10-of-15 from the 3-point line and 10-of-14 the free throw line. He is the first player in league history to have at least 10 made 3-pointers, 2-pointers and free throws in the same game. He set a new franchise record for points scored in a half and field goals made.

Towns’ night came while Embiid was having a night of his own. Embiid dropped a career-high 70 points and had 18 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs. Embiid set a new 76ers franchise record, too, and surpassed Wilt Chamberlain in the process. The last time there were two 60-point games on the same day in the NBA was back in 1978. Towns and Embiid’s scoring nights also came on the 18th anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s 81-point game, which is the second-highest scoring performance in league history.

Nickeil Alexander added 18 points for the Timberwolves in the loss, and Rudy Gobert finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Those three were the only Timberwolves players to hit double figures. The Timberwolves dropped to 30-13 on the season after their second straight loss. They'll take on the Washington Wizards next on Wednesday.

“There’s always a lot of ways to be immature,” Finch said. “There was a lot of immature performances here throughout the roster.

“We totally disrespected the game, ourselves, and we got exactly what we deserved.”