16/05/2022

Timberwolves climb back to .500 by beating Dallas 111-105 for fourth victory in a row

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Timberwolves climb back to .500 by beating Dallas 111-105 for fourth victory in a row

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points as the Wolves won again with Anthony Edwards unavailable.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points as the Wolves won again with Anthony Edwards unavailable.

Their starting lineup and rotations again impacted by health issues, the Timberwolves entered their game Sunday against Dallas at the Target Center with Josh Okogie joining Anthony Edwards and Taurean Prince as unavailable because of the league's health and safety protocols.

For the second consecutive game, with coach Chris Finch adjusting his rotations, it didn't matter.

In a game lacking a bit of star power, the Wolves did what they needed to do to win, 111-105, extending their winning streak to four games.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points with seven rebounds. D'Angelo Russell scored 22. Jaylen Nowell led a Wolves bench that scored 36 points with 16. Patrick Beverley had 10 points and seven assists.

Minnesota (15-15) has fought its way back to .500.

To be fair, the Mavericks (14-15) were hurting as well, with leading scorer Luka Doncic out again to injury and Kristaps Porzingis departing because of a sore foot in the second half. Dallas tenaciously rallied from nine down to take a two-point lead into the fourth.

But the Wolves outscored the Mavs 14-7 over the first half of the fourth quarter and never lost the lead.

Not for lack of trying. Up just two after Dorian Finney-Smith dunked with 1:57 left, Towns hit a three. After a Mavs score, Russell was fouled and made both free throws with 51.1 seconds left to put the Wolves up by five again. Out of a timeout, the Mavs turned it over.

Tim Hardaway led all scorers with 28 points. Finney-Smith had 23 and Jalen Brunson 18.

Despite holding the Mavs to 31.8% shooting and getting nine points from Towns, the Wolves led by just two points, 27-25, after a quarter.

Two reasons: The Wolves went cold over the final 2;22 of the quarter, and Minnesota didn't have an answer for Hardaway, Jr., who scored 12 of Dallas' 25 points.

The Wolves built a nine-point lead on Russell's three-pointer. But then the Mavericks — who were 3-for-13 on three-pointers in the quarter — hit two threes in a 12-5 finish to the quarter.

The Wolves finally appeared ready to take control of the game late in a foul-filled, stop-and-start second quarter. Up two, Russell had two three pointers, Beasley and Beverley one each in a 12-4 run that gave the Wolves their biggest lead of the game, 56-46, on Russell's three with 26 seconds left in the half.

But Vanderbilt, and then Finch, were called for technicals at the other end, and Porzingis hit both free throws with 19.6 seconds left. On the ensuing possession Brunson was fouled and made both free throws, pulling Dallas within 56-50 at the half.

Less than four minutes into the third quarter that lead was gone, as the Mavericks used a 13-7 start to the second half — capped by a three-pointer by Finney-Smith — to tie the game at 63. But the Wolves responded with a 16-7 run to go up 79-70 on Jaylen Nowell's three-point play with 4:22 left in the quarter.

Over the next 122 seconds the Mavericks ripped off a 13-4 run to tie the game on Hardaway Jr.'s three-pointer with 1:54 left in the quarter. The Timberwolves went back up three on Nowell's three, but Dallas scored the final five points of the quarter. The Mavericks out-scored the Wolves 18-7 over the final 4:22 of the quarter to lead by two entering the fourth. Dallas hit on 13 of 23 third-quarter shots and made seven of 11 three-point attempts.

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