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Wolves Blaze Past Portland For Fourth Straight

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 36 points and 15 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves used a late run to hold off the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 135-121 Saturday night for their fourth straight win.

The Timberwolves are averaging 133.3 points per game in the stretch and trail Denver by two games for the sixth spot in the Western Conference.

Jaylen Nowell scored 22 points and D’Angelo Russell added 14 points and 14 assists as six Minnesota players finished in double-figure scoring.

Anfernee Simons had 38 points, including a career-high tying nine 3-pointers, for the Trail Blazers, who’ve lost four straight. Rookie Brandon Williams scored a career-high 21 points off the bench as Portland also had six players in double figures.

However, this contest was an improvement because Portland’s previous three losses were by at least 30 points, and it failed to top 95 points in those games.

The depleted Trail Blazers had just eight players in uniform. Josh Hart, who is averaging 17.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists in six games since being acquired by the Trail Blazers on Feb. 8 was given the night off for load management; Eli Hughes and Greg Brown both missed the game with a non-COVID illness. Williams played after leaving Wednesday’s game with a hip pointer.

Minnesota led by 10 early in the fourth quarter before three straight Portland 3s got the Trail Blazers to 111-110.

Up 120-118, Nowell scored on a drive, Towns and Russell each scored four points for a 131-118 lead with 2:23 left.

Simons had 17, Johnson 11 and Williams 10 in the first half as Portland took a 64-63 lead into intermission. Neither team led by more than seven points in the first 24 minutes.