Karl-Anthony Towns was brilliant once again, leading the Wolves with 28 points and 13 boards. Despite already being eliminated from postseason contention, the two Western Conference clubs played a competitive game from start to finish.
Minnesota dictated the tempo early on, leading by as many as 10 points in the first quarter. Rookie phenom Luka Doncic engineered a couple second-quarter runs for Dallas, scoring 14 points in the first half. At halftime, the Wolves and Mavericks were tied at 58 apiece.
After a dominant first quarter, the Wolves’ starting lineup again came out hot to start the second half. Tyus Jones had another efficient start with 15 points, six assists and zero turnovers while going three-for-three from behind the arc.
Andrew Wiggins had a game-high seven assists in addition to 19 points. Dario Saric scored 14, but he and Wiggins together shot three-of-13 from three. Luckily for them, Dallas shot even worse than Minnesota from three, shooting just 18% to the Wolves’ 37%.
Entering the final frame down by 10, the Mavericks clawed back bit by bit. The Wolves conceded too many second-chance opportunities, allowing Doncic and Dwight Powell to grab four offensive rebounds each. Powell also shot nine-of-10 from the charity stripe and missed his career high by one with 25 points.
Another late standout for the Mavs was Jalen Brunson, who entered Wednesday with a 15-game double-digit scoring streak. Brunson scored seven points in the fourth quarter but was unable to extend his streak after missing a last-second three to win the game.
Minnesota avoided a season sweep at the hands of Dallas with the win, and they also assured themselves of finishing above the Mavericks at season’s end.
It was great to see Towns post up for a majority of a game and dominate while doing it. Towns didn’t make a single three, a rarity for the big man. He also committed just two fouls and drew a fifth from Salah Mejri at a pivotal moment in the fourth quarter.
Even though they’ve been out of the playoff picture for some time, it was encouraging to see the Wolves play well enough to earn a win. In the final quarter, it looked as if their defensive shortcomings would lose them a lead yet again, and they were ultimately one shot away from that being the case.
Minnesota closes out its season with Toronto on Tuesday, followed by a trip to Denver the next day.
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