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 for their fourth straight win
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MINNEAPOLIS — 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.
From the other side of the half-court line, Towns lobbed a first-quarter pass that Jaden McDaniels caught while jumping and laid it in. Then he went coast to coast in the final 4 seconds of the first half and scored on a floater from the lane at the buzzer.
GOOD, BAD BEASLEY
Malik Beasley had 16 points before being ejected in the third quarter for head-butting Drew Eubanks after a battle under the basket. However, Beasley made four shots from outside the arc to establish a Minnesota franchise record for 3-pointers in a season with 193. Kevin Love set the previous record of 190 in 2013-14.
Trail Blazers: F Keljin Blevens started for the first time in his career, but went scoreless in 24 minutes. … Justice Winslow (right Achilles) missed his third straight game and remains day to day. … The Trail Blazers are 1-10 in division play.
Timberwolves: Minnesota was whistled for three delay-of-game violations. … F Taurean Prince missed the second half with back spasms. … G Patrick Beverley (right ankle soreness) missed the game as a precautionary measure. … G Anthony Edwards sat out his third straight game with a knee injury.
The teams play again Monday in Minnesota.
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