Karl-Anthony Towns has spoken openly about the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on his family. Seven family members have died due to complications from the coronavirus, including his mother last April. Towns has gone into heartbreaking detail about losing his mom, whom he has called his biggest fan.
Towns and the entire Minnesota Timberwolves organization got an emotional boost Monday when his father, Karl Towns Sr., attended his first game since his wife's death. Clad in his son's No. 32 jersey, Towns Sr. was one of about a dozen family members at the game in Brooklyn against the Nets.
Though the T'wolves lost 112-107, Towns said having his father in the stands meant "everything."
"He understood how upset I was losing and everything," Towns said. "But he came to me and told me something that got me a little emotional. He said my mom would've been proud with how I played tonight."
This man right here means the world + some to me. Love You Pops ❤️ https://t.co/S80DAbIKjU
Towns greeted his father before the game and shared a moment that the team's Twitter account captured and posted. Afterwards, Towns also shared the photo and wrote: "This man right here means the world + some to me. Love You Pops"
Jacqueline Cruz-Towns was 58 when she died last April. Karl-Anthony Towns spoke on numerous occasions over the years about his mother's vibrant presence at T'wolves games. She was his biggest cheerleader. In her absence, Towns said his father took up the mantle.
"Me and my dad got emotional before the game," Town said. "He made his presence known. It affected me because my mom always did that. My dad was never the one to make his presence known."
Karl Sr. is in the building! pic.twitter.com/73EBDb3N6J
Towns finished the night with a team-high 31 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota. The stat line and the loss were largely secondary for Towns and his family.
"It's emotional," Karl Towns Sr. told ESPN. "I'm glad to be back supporting him. It's what she would've wanted, too."
Here are four more things to know today in the NBA:
Westbrook downplays historic triple-double
Russell Westbrook is a triple-double machine, but he often deflects praise for them, even after historic ones. Westbrook had 35 points, 21 assists and 14 rebounds Monday, the first triple-double in NBA history with at least 35 points and 20 assists. His 16th of the season (in 40 games) set a Washington Wizards franchise record for career triple-doubles. Still, Westbrook didn't want to talk about himself after the game: "I don't deserve the credit, honestly. … I have so many great coaches and teammates that make my job easy and help me out. Assists don't happen. I can't make the shots."
Russell Westbrook speaks on his mentality after dropping the first 35+ point, 20+ assist triple-double in NBA history in the @WashWizards win. pic.twitter.com/EA3ZBDIhBM
Rockets GM: No regrets on Harden trade
If it's tough to watch James Harden play in a different uniform, Rafael Stone isn't letting on. In fact, the Houston Rockets general manager has no regrets about the trade that sent Harden to the Brooklyn Nets. Stone addressed the early-season deal during a press conference Monday and reiterated he's not losing sleep.
"I would for sure, 100%, do that deal again," Stone said. "Again, you guys don't have the advantages of knowing everything that I know, but literally no part of me regrets doing that deal. I have not second-guessed it for a moment."
#Rockets GM @RafaelStone12 on the James Harden trade: “I would for sure, 100%, do that deal again..A lot of what I said about being in a position maybe to not have to be bad..It’s primarily that deal that’s allowed us to say hey we want to compete on a slightly quicker timeframe” pic.twitter.com/QDw3lM7XAv
Drummond ready to suit up for Lakers
Andre Drummond doesn't know when he'll make his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he's eager to get on the court. During his introductory press conference Monday, Drummond said he's "looking forward" to donning the purple and gold and eventually playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Drummond hasn't played since Feb. 12 but said he's stayed in shape during the layoff. "You can imagine the hunger and excitement I have to play and step on the court," Drummond said. "I had an incredible month of work where I'm ready to play today."
Andre Drummond has a message for the Lakers Family 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/qLblIuRUm3
Game of the night: Sixers at Nuggets
Even without injured center Joel Embiid, the Sixers pose a big challenge for the Nuggets. Philadelphia has won 10 of its last 12 to maintain first place in the Eastern Conference while Embiid has been sidelined with a bruised knee. Nikola Jokic and Denver are rounding into top form and added one of the top trade targets at the deadline in Aaron Gordon.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.
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