On Sunday night the Timberwolves had an opportunity to take a 1-0 lead over the Rockets. But, alas, it was not meant to be. Instead they lost 104-101. Oh well.
Part of the reason that Minnesota failed to potentially panic Houston by putting them in an early hole was the offensive struggles of Karl-Anthony Towns, who ended the night with just 8 points in 40 minutes on 3-of-9 from the field (in fairness, he also contributed 12 rebounds).
After the game, Shaquille O'Neal (a man who should have credibility due to his vast experience as a 7-foot tall NBA star with more than 200 career playoff starts) gave his two cents on how KAT can improve after his first career postseason contest. In fact, O'Neal felt that Towns' underwhelming playoff debut was due to not demanding the ball in the post with more urgency.
"What I would tell him to do is run to the middle of the floor every time and just stand in there until the ref calls three seconds two times in a row," O'Neal said, according to Larry Brown Sports. "Not only will it get yourself in the game, the defense starts to panic and they’ll start to double and triple a couple times early and you kick it out to your shooters.
“I know he’s young, but he’s the man on the team and he still needs to demand the ball. When they switch and a little guy (guards) him, all the guards telling him to clear out — no, you don’t move. You say, no give me the ball. Throw me the ball.”
One would think that there are only so many opportunities for an 8-seed to upend a 1. But, whatever, way crazier things have happened. We'll see if anyone was listening when the two teams meet again for Game 2 in Houston on Wednesday night.