LOS ANGELES – Of all the Timberwolves that have entered COVID-19 protocols over the last two weeks, Naz Reid's trip through them was the quickest.
Reid missed Monday's game against the Celtics, but was available the next night against the Knicks. Reid isn't sure why he only missed one game while teammates have missed multiple.
"I have no clue, honestly," Reid said. "I don't even know what's going on. I just know I'm here to play. I'm not even tripping about it."
Reid said he tested positive two days before that Boston game and only tested negative after that and, under NBA policies, if a player tests negative twice consecutively in tests taken at least 24 hours apart, they clear the protocols. That's what happened to Reid almost immediately. He said he didn't feel any symptoms.
"I didn't feel anything," Reid said. "That's another thing. I feel fine."
Center Karl-Anthony Towns has missed the past five games, including Sunday's 108-103 loss to the Lakers, which means the Wolves have needed Reid to help anchor their frontcourt.
Reid has made his name in the NBA on an efficient offensive game, but while his three-point shooting has improved this season (36%), his shooting inside the arc has declined (60% to 50%). Over his past seven games entering Sunday, Reid was shooting 37% from two-point range and 39% from three-point range.
Coach Chris Finch said that stemmed from a problem the Wolves have as a team — struggling to finish at the rim.
"[Reid has] a lot of like 'play-for-the-foul' type plays," Finch said. "Which you're not going to get. He's got to stay on balance, be tougher and just finish."
Reid was shooting 59% in the restricted area immediately around the rim, 44% over his previous seven games. He said he was trying not to worry too much about drawing fouls.
"I think it's just more focus at the rim," he said before scoring 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting vs. the Lakers. "Being able to finish over guys smaller than me or same size. Being able to use the finesse or power that I've been displaying …
"Just try to fight through [contact]. I'm a younger guy. I was told when I came in I might not get the same whistle as other guys, So I try to just fight through it."
Towns, Russell both nearly ready to return
Help could be on the way soon as Finch said Towns and D'Angelo Russell were "at the end of their protocol runs." He added they have to get up to speed physically before getting back into a game.
Finch did not anticipate they'd be ready to play Monday against the Clippers but said Wednesday at home against Oklahoma City was a "more realistic target."
"They just now have to get up to speed on what they feel like they can do physically," Finch said. "That's probably the next 24 hours, that type of assessment."
Praise for James
Since a loss to Minnesota on Dec. 17, Lakers star LeBron James had seven consecutive games in which he scored 30 or more points, a streak that ended Sunday night. James has even been playing center of late to help the Lakers get through some absences, which includes Anthony Davis, out because of a left knee injury. Finch said this stretch is emblematic of James' career.
"He does whatever his team needs him to do to win. I don't think he gets enough credit for it," Finch said. "He's moved to play more five right now because that's what they need to do to win.
"[With] Team USA if he has to cut against zone, he cuts against zone. Whatever the game demands he does it. He's not above doing anything like that.
"So, he just doesn't get enough credit for that."