For 48 hours, the NBA world got their shots in at the Minneapolis Timberwolves and Karl-Anthony Towns for their performances in a Game 3 collapse on Thursday.The Wolves have preached that they are a resilient team, and Towns had more flops on the national stage in the last week than All-Star level performances.
For a night, the Wolves quieted the doubters and punched back like their season depended on it with a 119-118 victory that began Saturday night and ended early Sunday morning.
Towns stayed out of foul trouble and came up big when the Wolves needed him most in the fourth quarter.
He scored 13 of his 33 in the fourth as the Wolves maintained a narrow lead Memphis never overtook. Towns iced the game with a pair of free throws with 4.4 seconds left.
The Wolves allowed Desmond Bane to hit seven three-pointers in the first half for 34 points, but Bane didn’t hit another triple in the second half until the buzzer sounded.
Anthony Edwards overcame an injury score to his right knee in the first quarter to score 24.
Tyus Jones came up short on a potential game-tying three with 10.5 seconds remaining and the Wolves were able to finish it off at the foul line. The crowd followed that with a “Wolves in six chant.”
The series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 in Memphis on Tuesday.
The Wolves held Ja Morant in check for the second consecutive night. Morant had just 11 points while Wolves backup point guard Jordan McLaughlin provided a key lift off the bench with 16 points.
There was a scare in the first quarter that looked it would’ve carried beyond Saturday night when Edwards appeared to suffer a non-contact injury to his right knee in the first quarter. Edwards couldn’t put any power on his knee and needed help getting to the locker room.
After Edwards left, the Wolves fell behind 19-12, but he relieved a lot of fears just minutes later when he came back out to the bench during a timeout to a loud ovation. The Wolves got their act back together after that.
Towns came out aggressive on the offensive end. He hit a three to open the scoring to set the tone from the start. He finished the first half with 14 points, 10 rebounds and largely avoided foul trouble with just two.
After Edwards came back out the Wolves pushed ahead for a 29-22 lead.
The Wolves got going in the second quarter when they got hot from three-point range. They hit 5-for-8 from deep to open the quarter with Patrick Beverley hitting three in the first half.
They extended their lead to 15, 50-35, with 5 minutes 23 seconds remaining in the half.
Much like Thursday, though, that lead didn’t last long in the second quarter. Bane had six threes in the first half and Memphis got it back to 60-56 by halftime despite just four first-half points from Morant.
There was another protest from an animal rights group of a chicken farm owned by Star Tribune and Wolves owner Glen Taylor in the third quarter the interrupted play, the third such protest in the last four games. This time one fan ran onto the floor and another was also removed from the arena. As they did following these previous protests, the Wolves went on a run after and extended their lead to 13.
They led by 12 with 5:47 left in the third before they nearly gave it all back again as Memphis followed with a 9-0 run. McLaughlin helped steady his team with a key three to stop that run and keep Minnesota ahead 93-87 headed into the fourth. They would barely hang onto that lead, which is more than they could say about Game 3.
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