Towns returns but Timberwolves lose 7th straight game

Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns, right, chases San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge who drives in the first half of an NBA basketball game. Photo: AP/Jim Mone. Minnesota Timberwolves' Karl-Anthony Towns, right, chases San Antonio Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge who drives in the first half of an NBA basketball game.

Associated Press
Created: January 09, 2021 10:23 PM

DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points, helping the San Antonio Spurs beat Minnesota 125-122 in overtime on Saturday night in Karl-Anthony Towns' return to the Timberwolves.

DeRozan, who went 13 for 23 from the floor and 12 of 13 from the line, had 13 points after the third quarter and keyed San Antonio's third straight victory with his relentless drives to the basket. Dejounte Murray (22 points) and Patty Mills (21 points) knocked down plenty of timely 3-pointers.

Towns, who missed the last six games with a partial dislocation of his left wrist, had 25 points and 13 rebounds in 37 minutes as Minnesota's losing streak hit seven games.

Malik Beasley scored 29 points on 7-for-11 shooting from 3-point range, his last make pulling the Timberwolves within three points with 37 seconds left. Towns grabbed a miss by DeRozan on the other end, but rookie Anthony Edwards drove to the basket and had his desperation pass intercepted by LaMarcus Aldridge.

Minnesota made three go-ahead 3-pointers over the last 2:14 of regulation, by Edwards, Towns and D'Angelo Russell, but DeRozan relentlessly answered with nine points in the last 1:29.

The highlight was a three-point play with 55 seconds remaining that gave San Antonio a 109-107 lead, when he drove by Edwards, drew the hand-check foul on the No. 1 pick in the draft and converted a playground-style up-and-under layup to evade the long arms of Towns.

After DeRozan made a pair of free throws with 12 seconds to go, the Timberwolves had the last shot, but Russell's forced top-of-the-key try in a crowd bounced off the rim.

The Timberwolves lost their six games without Towns by an average margin of 20 points, sorely lacking his production in the post as well as his rim protection. They played a sixth straight game without Josh Okogie (strained left hamstring) guarding the perimeter, another factor in their league-worst defensive rating of 118 points allowed per 100 possessions.

Towns, with a dark blue cast on his forearm and hot pink Nikes on his feet in the ultimate clash with the team's alternate neon green uniforms, wore a grimace, too, as he worked through the lingering discomfort. After easing in early, making a 3-pointer on his only shot attempt of the first quarter, Towns found his groove. He had 12 points in a nine-minute stretch of the third quarter.


Spurs: Rookie point guard Tre Jones, who turned 21 on Friday, did not play in his first homecoming game. The second-round draft pick from Duke won Minnesota state championship games at Target Center with Apple Valley High School in 2015 and 2017. ... Backup big man Drew Eubanks was not with the team due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Assistant coach Becky Hammon and another staff member were also absent for quarantine requirements, coach Gregg Popovich said.

Timberwolves: Naz Reid, back in a bench role with the return of Towns, had 16 points in 16 minutes. ... Edwards had 13 points, half of the career high he posted on Thursday at Portland.


Spurs: Following the back-to-back games against the Wolves, San Antonio finishes a five-game road trip at Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

Timberwolves: After the rematch with the Spurs, Minnesota continues this four-game homestand against Memphis on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comment on Facebook

Downtown Minneapolis businesses prepare for Chauvin trial

Minnetonka city worker receives award for calling seniors during pandemic

23-year-old man charged in fatal St. Paul hit-and-run