Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated Julius Randle the Las Angeles Lakers 81-68 on Friday. Towns finished with 12 points, three rebounds and four assists in his first game with the Timberwolves. Towns went 4-for-10 from the field and even showed some range by hitting a 17-footer.
Rarely does the No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks square-off in their first games in the league, but that was not the case on Friday. In front of packed house and the expectation of being the best rookie in the NBA, naturally Towns was a little nervous.
“I started out like any other rookie — I ain’t going to lie,” Towns said. “I had a lot of butterflies. I was very nervous. Legs felt heavy. It’s your first game out in front of everyone. You’re just trying to change the tide of the organization, especially being the No. 1 pick.”
Towns performed exceptionally well despite the constant struggle of being double-teamed.
“I was very comfortable [facing double-teams],” Towns said. “I did it a lot in college. I did it a lot in high school, especially. I was very ready for the double-team when I saw it coming. And just trying to make sure I was not just making the pass out of the double-team, but the right pass that gives us a scoring opportunity.”
Julius Randle finished with 11 points, one rebound and one blocked shot in his first organized game since fracturing his right tibia in his debut with the Lakers last season. Randle was limited to about 20 minutes in his first game back.
“It felt great,” Randle said. “I was definitely rusty. I really didn’t catch a rhythm until the end. … For me, my biggest thing was ‘slow down.’ Obviously, me out for so long I was anxious.”
“Julius is continuing to find his rhythm,” Madsen said. “I think we need to put him in situations and spots on the court where it’s harder for them to send a double team. … Twenty minutes was the target for tonight for Julius. For a first game back, he did a lot of positive things.”
— LakersTV (@LakersTV) July 11, 2015