On a day when each Jimmy Butler and Golden State’s Stephen Curry didn’t play, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins stepped forth for the Timberwolves in a 109-103 victory their group wanted to win.
By doing so Sunday at sold-out Target Center, the Wolves ended a three-game dropping streak amid a stretch during which they nonetheless should play Washington, San Antonio, Houston and the Los Angeles Clippers earlier than their schedule eases up within the common season’s remaining three weeks.
Towns outdid Warriors celebrity Kevin Durant in a fourth-quarter duel the Wolves gained 25-19, as Towns scored 14 factors on his strategy to a 31-point, 16-rebound efficiency.
He scored eight of his group’s 9 factors down the stretch in a recreation that the Wolves led by 11 factors within the first quarter, trailed by 12 within the second after which led once more by as many as seven factors with lower than six minutes left.
The Warriors pulled as shut as 104-103 with two minutes remaining however by no means received any nearer, because of Towns’ cool.
Wiggins’ insistence attacking the rim all afternoon didn’t damage any, both.
“I believe the younger guys grew up immediately,” Wolves veteran level guard Jeff Teague mentioned. “They performed laborious. They noticed a playoff environment. It was an intense recreation. They have actually gifted gamers over there, and we got here out and performed laborious.”
The Wolves introduced their 13th sellout this season for a Sunday matinee televised nationally by ABC. The Warriors performed with out Curry — out for a second consecutive recreation due to a recurring proper ankle damage — and veteran ahead Andre Iguodala in addition to three different rotation gamers.
But don’t cry for the champs, who nonetheless went forth with All-Stars Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.
“We wanted it badly,” Towns mentioned. “I felt we got here out with a way of urgency, desperation. We understood the magnitude of this recreation.”
Until Sunday, the Warriors had been 13-1 in video games following a loss. Now they’re 13-2 after dropping Friday at Portland and Sunday at Target Center.
“I don’t take into consideration stats like that,” Golden State coach Steve Kerr mentioned.
Meanwhile, the Wolves performed on with out Butler, who’s out for not less than a month whereas he rehabilitates from surgical procedure on meniscus cartilage in his knee.
Sunday’s recreation offered a giant stage for a Wolves group that moved again into fifth place within the Western Conference.
“This is huge for us,” Wiggins mentioned. “This is among the greatest groups within the league, if not one of the best. If we are able to play nicely in opposition to them and win, we are able to do it in opposition to anyone.”
To make certain, the Wolves acquired many contributions: Taj Gibson’s 4 offensive rebounds in an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double. Teague’s personal double-double, 10 factors and 10 assists. Nemanja Bjelica’s fast-break reverse layup that gave the Wolves a 96-90 lead with 6:56 left and a clutch blocked shot on guard Quinn Cook within the remaining 30 seconds.
But none contributed greater than Towns and Wiggins, who mixed to attain 54 factors on 22-for-40 capturing whereas Durant wanted 32 photographs to attain his 39.
“This is a good alternative for everybody on the group, actually for these two,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned. “Whenever a man like Jimmy goes out, it’s a possibility to get expertise in several conditions. We have good veterans on the group, however this can be a good alternative for them to step up and lead. We don’t need management to fall on anybody individual and that features when Jimmy is right here.
“We need to have a group of leaders, and one of the best management you possibly can have are your actions. What are you doing? It’s not what you say as a result of oftentimes folks say issues and don’t do what they are saying. It’s what you do.”
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