StaTuesday: Karl-Anthony Towns pushes for All-Star bid with historic game

In the latest All-Star voting returns (released Jan. 10), Karl-Anthony Towns wasn’t listed in the top-10 vote-getters among Western Conference frontcourt players.

But Towns, who made his first career All-Star Game last season in Los Angeles, has been playing like an All-Star of late — and then some.

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In Minnesota’s nine games since Dec. 28, Towns is averaging 28.3 points, 16.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.1 blocks and one steal per contest. He’s racked up at least 27 points in eight of those and leads the NBA in rebounds and blocks in that span.

One of those games will not be forgotten any time soon.

In a tight 110-106 win over Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, Towns tallied 27 points on 10-of-23 shooting (43.5 percent) while recording a career-high 27 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals.

“Twenty-seven rebounds mean you’re really playing to win,” Timberwolves head coach Ryan Saunders said in his postgame press conference. “He understands this was a win we needed against a team we’re going to be fighting against for playoff positioning.”

The 27 rebounds were the second-most in Timberwolves single-game history, bested only by Kevin Love’s 31 boards during a monster performance against the New York Knicks in 2010. Kevin Garnett (twice) and Al Jefferson are the only other two Timberwolves to record 25+ rebounds in a single game.

But really, you could argue Towns had one of the best all-around games in Wolves history.

He’s the only player on the list below to record multiple assists, steals and blocks while tallying the 27 points and 27 boards.

Games with 25+ rebounds in Timberwolves history

Kevin Love Nov. 12, 2010 Knicks 31 31 5 1
Karl-Anthony Towns Jan. 12, 2019 Pelicans 27 27 3 4
Al Jefferson Jan. 13, 2010 Rockets 26 26 1 1
Kevin Garnett Dec. 5, 2003 Kings 25 33 6 3
Kevin Garnett Jan. 12, 2005 Magic 25 19 8 1

Towns’ 27-27 stat line against New Orleans has a place in NBA history, as well.

He’s just the fourth player this century to tally 27+ points and 27+ rebounds in a single game, joining Love, Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Dwight Howard, when the latter had a cup of coffee with Charlotte last season.

Just three other players have put up similar games since 1980. Moses Malone did it twice, once with Houston and again in Philadelphia, and Kevin Willis and Dikembe Mutombo both achieved the feat while playing in Atlanta.

Games with 27+ points and 27+ rebounds in NBA since 1980

Karl-Anthony Towns, Wolves 2019 27 27 3 2 4
Dwight Howard, Hornets 2018 32 30 1 0 0
Andre Drummond, Pistons 2015 29 27 0 2 3
Kevin Love, Wolves 2010 31 31 5 0 1
Dikembe Mutombo, Hawks 1999 27 29 3 0 6
Kevin Willis, Hawks 1991 29 31 3 3 0
Moses Malone, 76ers 1984 32 27 1 0 1
Moses Malone, Rockets 1982 38 32 2 3 0

A stat line of 27+ points and 27+ rebounds occurred 24 different times in the 1970s, with Elvin Hayes (five times), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (four) and Wilt Chamberlain (four) responsible for most of the damage.

That’s some good company for young Towns – company worth an All-Star vote, no doubt.

Follow this link to get Towns to the All-Star Game — the polls close Jan. 21 at 10:59 p.m.