Karl Anthony-Towns Takes Slight Jab At Former Coach Tom Thibodeau Post-Game

The Minnesota Timberwolves got into the playoffs after winning their play-in game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. Four days later they were facing the second seed Memphis Grizzlies in a first-round matchup in the Western Conference playoff bracket. Karl Anthony-Towns struggled against the Clippers scoring only 11 points, prompting doubt that the star player would perform in the playoffs. However, after clocking in 43 minutes in game one against the Grizzlies and scoring 29 points, Towns proved he was mentally prepared, but also physically. A reporter post-game mentioned his minutes played, and Towns could not help but mention his former coach Tom Thibodeau.

In the post-game press conference around the two-minute mark, a reporter is heard asking him, "Are you pretty comfortable, if needed here, to play in the mid-40s on a consistent basis here in the post-season?" Towns took a breath, and then replied, "When was the last time I played 43... I know when it was, Thibs." Then adding that he was "prepared for it," to respond to the question directly. 

Thibodeau coached Towns and the Timberwolves from 2016 to 2019 taking them to the playoffs his first season after a 12-year hiatus. Thibodeau is notorious for playing star players 40+ minutes each night and has defended his coaching style. For Towns, his memory of playing more than 43 minutes is accurate, coming in the 2017-2018 season where he had two games in the mid-40s against the 76ers and the Nuggets due to overtime play. The only 43+minute game that season was 44 against the Mavericks. 

Interestingly enough, Towns played a 43-minute game during the regular season against the same team they are facing in the playoffs, the Grizzlies. That game went to overtime, where the Grizzlies came out with the victory.

Although it was a slight jab at his former coach, you can see Towns smiling at reporters after mentioning his name, indicating it was not maliciously intended. Rather, it was to solidify Towns' mentality of playing more minutes in order for his team to succeed.

After an impressive game one performance against the Grizzlies, Towns and the Timberwolves will look to take game two in Memphis on Tuesday night.