The Minnesota Timberwolves were more competitive in Game 1 of their first round series against the Houston Rockets than many anticipated, holding a lead as late as the mid-fourth quarter in a 104-101 loss on the road.
While the Wolves played well and kept things tight with the Rockets, there were some that felt they were being given far more opportunities by Houston than they were taking advantage of on the offensive end. Charles Barkley was particularly frustrated by Minnesota’s play in the first half, and let the world know about it in a classic Barkley rant during the halftime show.
Barkley torched the Wolves for not attacking mismatches in the right way when Houston switched pick-and-rolls and put a guard on Karl-Anthony Towns, which he felt could have given them a distinct advantage, calling them “one of the dumbest teams I’ve ever seen” for not recognizing those opportunities.
Chris Webber also harped on Karl-Anthony Towns flaring out to the corner after a switch rather than trying to take the guard down onto the block on the game broadcast, so it wasn’t just something that ticked Barkley off. While former players, especially big men, tend to yell about modern bigs not going to work in the post enough, Barkley and Webber’s frustration in this instance is pretty well justified.
Karl-Anthony Towns is a wildly talented offensive player and to not use him at all in these situations is akin to basketball malpractice. Towns somehow had only nine shot attempts in the game which was tied for the fifth most on the Wolves, and that simply can’t happen. Whether it’s Towns not being aggressive or assertive enough or the game plan not including him enough (or, most likely a bit of a combination of both), that needs to be remedied moving forward and maybe part of that is attacking switches differently.