Towns has huge night, Minnesota tops Miami

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat. Photo: AP/Lynne Sladky
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) reacts after scoring during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat.

December 30, 2018 09:54 PM

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 34 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, leading six Minnesota players in double figures as the Timberwolves defeated the Miami Heat 113-104 on Sunday night.
    
Towns added seven assists and six blocked shots for the Timberwolves. The only other player in NBA history to have that many points, rebounds, assists and blocks in the same game was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, for the Los Angeles Lakers against Phoenix on Nov. 14, 1975. Abdul-Jabbar had 35 points, 19 rebounds, nine assists and eight blocks in that game.
    
Robert Covington scored 16 and Taj Gibson added 14 for Minnesota. The Wolves also got 13 apiece from Andrew Wiggins and Dario Saric, while Tyus Jones scored 12.
    
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 21 points. Josh Richardson scored 17, Derrick Jones Jr. added 16 and Hassan Whiteside grabbed 13 rebounds for the Heat - who ended the 2018 calendar year with a 43-43 record.
    
Miami led only once, and that was for all of 25 seconds. But Minnesota was never exactly running away with this one - the Wolves' lead was merely 55-54 at halftime, 86-77 after three quarters and was up to 90-79 early in the fourth.
    
That's when Miami went on its last-gasp attempt to steal one.
    
A three-point play by Wade, and 3-pointers by Olynyk and Tyler Johnson added up to a 9-0 run that got Miami within 90-88 and put the Heat in position to win down the stretch.
    
Towns was having none of that.
    
He ended the Minnesota scoring drought with a short hook, added a three-point play and his 3-pointer with 4:06 left put the Timberwolves up 103-92.
    
TIP-INS
    
Timberwolves: It was the 13th time Towns has posted at least 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game. Minnesota, somewhat surprisingly, is now only 6-7 in such contests. ... Minnesota forced 19 turnovers, while committing only 10.
    
Heat: Chris Bosh was back in the stands for a second consecutive game, plus was with Miami at practice on Saturday. ... Miami missed its first eight shots. ... Whiteside got three stitches over his left eye in the first quarter. He returned to the game. ... James Johnson missed the game with an illness. Jones Jr. started in his place, giving Miami its 15th starting lineup in 35 games.
    
WAITERS CLEARED
    
Heat guard Dion Waiters returned after two days of practice with Miami's G League affiliate in Sioux Falls, complained about how cold it was there, but more importantly declared himself ready to play again. "I feel great. You ask those guys out there, I don't think I missed a shot. I'm talking about a lot of deep shots, too," Waiters said. He hasn't been in a game for the Heat since Dec. 22, 2017 - but may make his season debut Wednesday in Cleveland.
    
TWO POINTS
    
Minnesota was without its two primary point guards: Derrick Rose missed the game with a right ankle sprain, and Jeff Teague missed his seventh consecutive game with left ankle inflammation. Rose hasn't appeared in a game at Miami since Dec. 6, 2016. Also out for Minnesota was Keita Bates-Diop, who was ill.
    
UP NEXT
    
Timberwolves: Visit New Orleans on Monday.
    
Heat: Visit Cleveland on Wednesday.
    
 

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Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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