The Timberwolves cruised to a 124-104 win on Wednesday night in Minnesota, handing the reeling Lakers their third consecutive loss and the 12th loss in their last 15 games. En route to the victory, several Wolves players seemed to relish the opportunity to talk trash to Los Angeles players, as Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN writes.
In a pair of sequences that went viral, Karl-Anthony Towns and Patrick Beverley mocked Russell Westbrook after he put up an airball (video link), and Beverley mockingly plugged his nose and appeared to call Westbrook “trash” after forcing a turnover (video link). After the game, James brushed off the trash talk as “part of the game,” while Westbrook said he wasn’t bothered by it, taking a shot at the Wolves in the process.
“Nobody over there has done anything in this league that would make me pick my eyes up, like, ‘Oh, they’re talking mess. Let me respond.’ No. It’s fine,” Westbrook said, per Youngmisuk. “They’re good. They won the game. Happy for them. Move onto the next one.”
Beverley, who has gone back and forth with Westbrook in the past, replied to the Lakers guard’s comments via Twitter later in the night: “Playoffs every year. 2 western conference finals with 2 different Teams 👀👀👀 individual stats or team stats? I thought it was a team sport??”
Here’s more on the Wolves:
- Both Beverley and Anthony Edwards spoke on Wednesday about the Timberwolves’ increasing confidence, explaining that this season’s team has a level of “swag” that has been missing in the past. “Being on the other side, coming into Minnesota, a swagless team over the years. Not really understanding an identity, but this year is very different,” Beverley said, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. “We know exactly who we are. We’re not backing down from anybody. Humbly though, very humbly. Not arrogant in that sense. Very comfortable in our skin.”
- Towns has faced criticism over the years, especially following Jimmy Butler‘s departure, based on a perception that he lacks toughness and doesn’t have a killer instinct. But Beverley, who had heard those stories before joining the Wolves, has been pleasantly surprised by what he has seen from the big man this season. “I thought my biggest task when I came here was going to be KAT and it’s not. It’s been great,” Beverley said (Twitter link via Hine). “Man, of course you hear all those stories about different players before you meet them. … It’s totally the opposite of everything I’ve heard.”
- After sustaining an ear injury last Friday, Beverley has returned to the starting lineup for Minnesota’s last two games and played well, but he said on Wednesday night that he’s been having some trouble hearing and will see a specialist about the issue, tweets Hine.