MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 39 points and nine rebounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who had their offense humming inside and out in a 129-114 victory over the sputtering Golden State Warriors in a potential playoff series preview on Tuesday night.
D’Angelo Russell pitched in 22 points, and Malik Beasley added 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting from 3-point range for Minnesota. The Timberwolves owned a 54-42 edge in points in the paint, too, with the banged-up Warriors mostly out of answers for slowing Towns down around the basket.
Stephen Curry led Golden State with 34 points, but the league’s career leader in 3-point shooting went just 5 for 16 from long range with several of his heaves way off the mark. Gary Payton II added 14 points for the Warriors, who have the NBA’s second-best record but have lost six of eight games.
The Timberwolves (34-29), who entered the evening 3 1/2 games out of the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference with the play-in avoidance that comes with it, played without Anthony Edwards because of knee tendinitis. They still won their sixth straight game against the Warriors at home, never minding their 11-game losing streak to Golden State on the road for now, and moved a season-best five games above the .500 mark.
The Warriors (43-19), who are suddenly in quite the fight in trying to fend off Memphis (43-20) for second place, were without Klay Thompson for the second straight game because of an illness.
Nemanja Bjelica was held out with a bruised quadriceps, and Moses Moody — who started again at forward with Thompson sidelined — departed in the first quarter with a bruised left eye after a collision with Towns under the basket. Then there’s the continued absence of Draymond Green and James Wiseman and the lack of depth to fill in the post.
Andrew Wiggins had eight points in the first 3:08 of the game against his former team, but he went quiet the rest of the way and finished with 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting.
This matchup of the two most frequent 3-point shooting teams in the league was mostly in Minnesota’s control, starting with an 18-5 run to close the first quarter. Russell converted a three-point play for a 68-56 lead just before halftime, and the Timberwolves took a 14-3 spurt well into the fourth quarter before Towns checked back in for the final stretch.