WASHINGTON (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns recovered from a shot to the mouth that left him down on the court and finished with a season-high 37 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 116-111 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
Towns shot 13 for 17, including making all three of his 3-point attempts, and showed no ill effects after getting knocked in the face with about a minute left in the first half.
Entering the fourth quarter in this defense-optional contest, the Wizards were ahead 90-82. The hosts stretched that to a game-high edge of 10 points, at 95-85 with 10 minutes left.
But a 20-3 run capped by an inside basket from Andrew Wiggins off Towns’ assist put Minnesota up 105-98 with less than 5½ minutes to go. After the Wizards got within 111-109, Towns sank a corner 3 with 29 seconds left to push the visitors’ lead back up to five.
Every starter scored at least 10 points for the Timberwolves, who were coming off a victory over the Golden State Warriors in their previous game. Wiggins scored 16, and Nemanja Bjelica had 17, plus eight rebounds and seven assists.
Markieff Morris led Washington with a season-high 27 points, and Bradley Beal added 19. But when Washington had a chance to try to get a tying 3-pointer, down 114-111 and inbounding the ball with 15.8 seconds remaining, Beal — guarded by Towns out on the perimeter — threw a bad pass that was intercepted by Teague.
Washington led 59-56 at halftime, thanks to three players in double figures: Morris with 14 points, Tomas Satoransky with 11 and Beal with 10. Towns led Minnesota with 17.
After getting hit late in the second quarter, Towns remained face-down briefly, then rolled onto his back, and Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau came out to check on him. Eventually, Towns got up and went over to the bench, holding his chin.
Towns was back out there to open the second half, and he kept getting the ball down low — and kept putting it in the hoop. Wizards starting center Marcin Gortat, in particular, put up little resistance while trying to guard the All-Star known by his initials, KAT.
Both teams are without All-Star guards at the moment. The Timberwolves are missing Jimmy Butler, who had surgery on his right knee on Feb. 25, while the Wizards don’t have John Wall, out since late January because of an operation on his left knee.
Washington has lost five of its past seven games.
Timberwolves: Thibodeau on Butler’s recovery from surgery: “He’s not jumping, but he’s … running. He’s moving along pretty well.” … Split the season series 1-1, avoiding getting swept by the Wizards for the first time since 2008-09. … Ended a seven-game losing streak in road games against Eastern Conference opponents and improved to 3-10 in such games this season.
Wizards: Allowed 18 points in the paint in the first quarter alone, and 64 total. … Coach Scott Brooks is not entirely sure when Wall will return to full-fledged practicing after missing 1½ months so far. Brooks also doesn’t know how much Wall will get a chance to play before the regular season ends.
THIBS AND BROOKS
The teams’ coaches go way back: As an assistant coach at Harvard, Thibodeau used to make the trek to observe practices of the 1987-88 Albany Patroons of the Continental Basketball Association; Brooks was a guard on that team, which went 48-6. Asked about those days, Brooks recalled this about Thibodeau: “He was a sponge,” and “He had the mullet.” Later on, Thibodeau was an assistant coach with the Timberwolves and New York Knicks while Brooks played for both.
Timberwolves: At San Antonio on Saturday.
Wizards: At Boston on Wednesday.
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