NBA Basketball

Towns is questionable as Timberwolves host reeling Knicks

A little over two weeks ago, Karl-Anthony Towns missed the first game of his career and the Minnesota Timberwolves found a way to beat the New York Knicks.

The Timberwolves may be forced to play without Towns again -- this time due to a right knee injury -- Sunday night when they host the Knicks.

Towns missed the Feb. 22 game against the Knicks, due to being placed in the concussion protocol after getting into a car accident in Minneapolis on the way to the airport. The Timberwolves recorded a 115-104 win.

On Saturday, the All-Star center did not play the overtime of Minnesota's 135-130 win over the Washington Wizards due to a knee injury.

Towns dominated offensively Saturday by totaling 40 points and 16 rebounds in 37 minutes but exited the game after appearing to sustain a non-contact injury. With 8.3 seconds left in regulation, he came up limping after crossing the midcourt line and exited the court on his own power but clearly limping.

After Towns exited, the Wolves did enough in the extra five minutes to win after allowing a game-tying 3-pointer in regulation by Bradley Beal.

"It's a number of things that showed a lot of resiliency from our team in a number of ways," Minnesota interim coach Ryan Saunders said. "We really pulled together in a way, especially without K.A.T. (Towns) in a way that you could look to and say ok you're building something."

After Minnesota claimed its fifth consecutive home win, Saunders said Towns was walking around and did not think the injury was serious. A determination on if Towns will miss the third game of his career will likely be made after he undergoes further testing.

If Towns sits, Taj Gibson would likely become the starting center. Gibson started the two games Towns sat out last month and totaled 39 points and 16 rebounds.

Besides Towns, it is possible Andrew Wiggins may sit out a second straight game. Wiggins sat out with a left thigh contusion, and if he's forced out again, rookie Keita-Bates Diop would likely start, after scoring 12 points in 37 minutes.

When Towns sat out the game in New York, Derrick Rose led the Wolves in scoring with 20 points and he will likely get plenty of opportunities again if Minnesota is shorthanded. Rose supplemented Towns' monster night against the Wizards by getting 29 points, including the game-clinching hoop in overtime, and he played at least 30 minutes for the 17th time this season.

After committing 23 turnovers in the first meeting with Minnesota, the Knicks won two straight by beating San Antonio and Orlando. Since those two wins, New York is on a five-game losing streak.

The Knicks (13-53) fell 40 games under .500 Saturday afternoon when they were outscored 15-5 in the final six-plus minutes of a 102-94 home loss to the Sacramento Kings.

New York shot 37.2 percent Saturday and it was the 15th time it shot under 40 percent. During their sixth losing streak of at least five games, the Knicks are shooting 43.3 percent while averaging 104.6 points.

New York will also attempt to improve at sharing the ball. The Knicks are last in assists at 19.9 per game and finished with 16 assists Saturday, marking their 29th game with less than 20 assists.

It is a message coach David Fizdale addressed with his team, especially since the only players signed beyond this season are rookies Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson along with second-year guards Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr.

"When you're dealing with guys fighting for their contractual life, you're always going to have an element of where a guy can be more focused on trying to get his," Fizdale told reporters. "Not that we've had a lot of that, but it's just a natural thing when you're fighting for your life."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 10, 2019

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