Karl-Anthony Towns said he hadn't eaten all day in a voice that sounded as if he had a frog in his throat — and that frog also happened to have a respiratory infection. Guard Mike Conley was just one game removed from saying it was hard to talk and breathe at the same time while Anthony Edwards looked lethargic and nowhere near 100% as all are battling through an intestinal flu that is running through the Timberwolves at the worst possible time.
The illnesses' contribution to the Wolves' 123-111 loss to the Lakers is hard to quantify, but it's hard not to think it played at least a small part in the Wolves looking so unlike their recent selves.
"You hear my voice. Whatever this illness is going around with this team — I haven't eaten all day. Had a lot of things going wrong," said Towns, who had 23 points. "Kinda living in the bathroom, so I'm just trying to figure it out. A lot of shivers at night, night sweats, chills."
The Wolves' performance in the second half Friday is likely to contribute to those night sweats.
Friday's showdown was bad enough for the Wolves given the impact it had on the Western Conference standings, in which the Wolves fell a half-game behind the Lakers in playoff positioning.
What was most upsetting for Minnesota was how it lost.
"I felt like we took a step back," center Rudy Gobert said. "We can talk about the weather, we can talk about the [illness], but we got to be smarter than that and we got to be better than that."
A team that had appeared to turn a corner in recent weeks, a team that was playing smart basketball on both ends of the floor, looked as discombobulated and mistake-prone as it has all season.
After the Wolves took a 13-point lead in the third quarter, they lost all composure and looked more like the immature group they were last season and even earlier this one.
The weirdness began when Anthony Davis, who bludgeoned the Wolves with 38 points and 17 rebounds, was momentarily injured underneath the Wolves' basket.
It seemed to throw off the Wolves more than the Lakers, who began taking huge cuts at the double-digit lead. Gobert (14 points, 11 rebounds) mentioned he didn't want to dunk while Davis was on the floor, and it led to a turnover. Gobert then hurt himself in the fourth quarter when he knocked knees with another player. He mentioned his right knee was "really sore" and that it was likely a contusion, but a bad one at that.
"It's almost like when that happened, we lost our talent," Gobert said of Davis' injury. "It was crazy. That happened, I had the ball in my hands and I could've went and dunked it, but A.D. was laying there. So I was like, that's too ruthless, I'll just pass it out. After that it was just turnover after turnover."
The Lakers went on a 20-2 run while the Wolves scored just two points in a span of 6 minutes, 49 seconds. Their offense produced just 46 points on 32% shooting in the second half. The Lakers converted that into 17 fast-break points in the third and fourth quarters. LeBron James added 18 points on 7-for-19 shooting.
"Our head got down and we didn't get back in transition a few times," coach Chris Finch said. "That's old habits we can't allow to have come up right now."
Much like they wish players' lunches weren't coming up right now either. Edwards especially looked like he'd rather be lying in bed. He scored 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting.
"The kid is fighting through a lot, probably more than anybody knows," said Conley, who led the Wolves with 25 points. "I'm just proud of him continuing to go out there and fight. This is an important time of year and he'll be better and we'll be a lot better when he is."
But the Wolves' season and playoffs hopes don't have the luxury of time.