Bjelica, Towns ignite late rally in Timberwolves win
MINNEAPOLIS—Nemanja Bjelica ignited a fourth-quarter burst with 3-pointers as the Minnesota Timberwolves broke open a tight game enroute to a 118-108 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Karl-Anthony Towns recorded game-highs with 23 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, helping the Timberwolves win a fourth straight game as they wind down on a five-game homestand.
The loss was the Knicks' 10th in their last 13 games.
The teams battled on near-even terms for three quarters, with the Timberwolves taking just an 87-86 lead into the final period.
But that's when Bjelica, held to two points off the bench for three quarters, made his game-winning impact.
He opened the quarter with a 3-pointer that extended the margin to four points. Three minutes later, after he'd added a layup to his point total, he buried another 3-pointer, making it a 13-3 Minnesota run that ballooned the lead to 100-89.
Towns added a three-point play, while Tyus Jones and Jamal Crawford bombed in a 3-pointer apiece, helping the Timberwolves run off to a 113-95 lead with just 4:49 to go.
Towns, Bjelica (10 points) and Crawford (10) were three of eight Timberwolves scoring in double figures. Taj Gibson had 17, Andrew Wiggins 16, Jimmy Butler 13, Jeff Teague 12 and Gorgui Dieng 10 to round out the balanced Minnesota attack.
Teague complemented his 12 points with eight assists, four rebounds and four steals.
The Knicks placed seven players in double figures, led by Jarrett Jack with 18 points.
Tim Hardaway Jr., returning from a stress fracture in his leg, chipped in with 16 points, while Kristaps Porzingis had 17, Enes Kanter 16, Courtney Lee 14, Michael Beasley 13 and Kyle O'Quinn 12 for New York.
Hardaway hit four of eight from 3-point range, as the Knicks lost despite making 50 percent of their shots from beyond the arc (12-for-24). New York also outshot Minnesota 54.2 percent to 51.6 overall from the field.
Kanter (12 rebounds) and Porzingis (10) recorded double-doubles for the Knicks. Jack also had a team-high eight assists.