Wednesday, October 5 2022

HOUSTON — One name that quickly comes to mind among the NBA’s elite centers is Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, who is averaging nearly 25 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.

He is powerful and bullish in the post area, and when he can’t have his way in the paint, the 6-foot-11 Towns moves out to the 3-point line ⁠— where he has made 41.0% of the shots he has taken this season. It’s also worth remembering that he won the 3-point contest in February during the league’s 2022 All-Star Weekend in Cleveland.

In other words, Towns is a walking mismatch for most centers that he is matched up against. The Houston Rockets were no different in the first half of Sunday’s home game versus the Timberwolves, as they sent numerous double teams to force the ball out of his hands.

Their plan was somewhat effective, as Towns finished with 13 first-half points. However, the Timberwolves shot 66% from the field as a team in taking an 80-68 lead into halftime at Toyota Center..

During the intermission, one Rockets player spoke up about the ineffectiveness of doubling Towns in the post and wanted the defensive strategy scrapped so that he could play him straight up. That player was rookie center Alperen Sengun.

Rockets head coach Stephen Silas heard his rookie loud and clear, and in the fourth quarter, he allowed Sengun to defend Towns straight-up, and without any help-side defender.

“We stopped doubling Towns quite as much,” said Silas. “Alpi (Sengun) said, ‘I want to guard him,’ and I said ‘Okay, you want him, you got him.’ And he did a pretty good job on him.”

Houston erased a 27-point lead by Minnesota in the second half before losing by a final margin of 139-132. The Rockets’ plan of defending the man in front of them worked well, as they held the Timberwolves to 23 points in the final period after giving up 116 through three quarters.

“I was feeling good about that,” said Sengun, who used his physicality to battle with Towns in the post. “I trust myself, and when the double team came, they were finding the open guy. That’s why I felt confident. I believe that I can defend by myself. I did (a) good job.”

It was Sengun’s first time in the lineup after missing two games with hamstring soreness. The 19-year-old finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds, which was his fourth double-double of the season.

“I did my best and I am happy to be back,” Sengun said postgame. “I am happy that I am back on the court. We have a few games left in the season, and I am trying to do my best to end the season well.”

Related

Rockets rookie Alperen Sengun explains his flexing celebrations

Rockets rookie Alperen Sengun has breakout performance versus LeBron James

List

2022 NBA draft lottery race: April 4 update for Rockets, Nets picks

Source: Yahoo Sports

Previous

Auburn sophomore Walker Kessler to enter NBA draft, hire agent

Next

Giants hope for 2023 Mexico City games after 2022 trip canceled

Check Also

Pro Sports Media

Trending Now

Domantas Sabonis believes the Kings will end their 16-year playoff drought

Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis thinks his team’s 16-year playoff drought will soon come to an end. The sixth-year NBA player expects the Kings to qualify for the postseason. Though, the question is when? When Sabonis was asked by NBA.com if making the playoffs is a realistic goal, he said, “Of course.” Sacramento has not […]

Read More

Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is ready for season opener

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is eager for the 2022-23 season to begin. For their season opener, the Timberwolves face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 19. More importantly, Towns is looking forward to working together with new teammate Rudy Gobert. Last season, the three-time All-Star averaged 15.6 points and a career-high 14.7 […]

Read More

Lakers’ Russell Westbrook says he will ‘focus on competing’ and ignore trade rumors

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, right, passes the ball as Kings forward Trey Lyles defends Monday in Los Angeles. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press) Even as the Lakers opened their preseason Monday night, questions about Russell Westbrook’s future with the organization continued to be asked. After yet another story detailing a potential Westbrook trade — […]

Read More