Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook did a lot of talking on the court Tuesday night but was having none of what Karl-Anthony Towns was putting down in return.
The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled off a dominating upset victory at home behind Towns’ 41 points, 14 rebounds and two steals. The 23-year-old Towns can add another note to his stat line: one prominent moment of ticking Westbrook off enough in the 131-120 win that the Thunder star shot this back.
“Get to the f—— playoffs before you speak to me,” Westbrook barked.
Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders told Towns and Dario Saric to turn back their trash talk even though Westbrook was still going at them hard, per the report. They did, avoiding the trap door of playing into Westbrook’s game, and came out with the win.
It’s enough to keep the Wolves within six games of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Towns is averaging 36.4 points in five games since he missed time after a car accident. They were the first games he missed in his career, ending a 303-game streak.
Yet the Timberwolves are 2-3 in those five games he’s gone off in, including a 42-point performance against the Indiana Pacers. He’s accused of being a player who puts up big numbers, but doesn’t bring a team together to win.
The team that started the year with massive ongoing drama and traded star Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers is 30-34. They have one of the tougher stretches with 11 of their final 18 games against teams above .500 and have barely shown up on the road, going 9-24 away from Minneapolis.
The Westbrook comments likely stung. But they also showed just how irritated Westbrook was to lose to such a team. The Thunder (39-25) are in the fourth playoff spot in the West, with the Rockets owning the tiebreaker for third.
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