Towns, Reid score 20, lead Timberwolves past Thunder 138-101

Mar 4, 2022, 5:38 AM | Updated: 9:11 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) dunks over Oklahoma City Thunder forward Isai...

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) dunks over Oklahoma City Thunder forward Isaiah Roby, center, in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 4, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The points are piling for the Minnesota Timberwolves, and so are the wins.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid each scored 20 points to help the Timberwolves defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 138-101 on Friday night for their third straight victory.

“Just credit Minnesota,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “They’re obviously a really good team, and I thought their foot was on the gas. I thought they were the more aggressive team.”

Taurean Prince scored 18 points, D’Angelo Russell had 17 and Jaden McDaniels added 16 for the Timberwolves, who have averaged 131.3 points during their win streak. They have won six of eight overall.

Minnesota’s reserves, led by Reid and Prince, outscored Oklahoma City’s 74-18.

“I don’t know if I envisioned them playing this well,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said. “Every night, it seems to be a different guy who kind of like, is really driving that unit.”

Reid made all eight of his field-goal attempts, including two 3-pointers.

“Everything was really quick and clean,” Finch said. “He rolled hard, he caught the ball in traffic, made the right play, finished extremely well around the basket.”

In all, Minnesota made 22 of 47 3-pointers.

“They were the aggressor, offensively for sure,” Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Had us on our heels, and the score showed so.”

Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points for Oklahoma City, marking his fifth straight game with at least 29 points. Isaiah Roby added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who were missing starters Josh Giddey (sore right hip) and Lu Dort (left shoulder strain).

The Timberwolves shot 57.4% from the field in their highest-scoring half of the season to take a 77-60 lead at the break. Minnesota scored 45 points in the second quarter — a season high for any quarter this season. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 20 points in the first half while trying to keep the Thunder in it.

Oklahoma City’s 45 points allowed in the first quarter and 77 points in the first half were highs for a Thunder opponent this season.

Minnesota remained in control in the third quarter and took a 108-87 lead into the fourth.

“We knew coming into the game what the team was capable of, and they kind of imposed their will on us tonight,” Daigneault said. “You’ve got to give them a lot of credit for that.”

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: G Anthony Edwards sat out his second straight game with a knee injury. … Shot 72.7% from the field, 80% from 3-point range and 100% from the free-throw line in the second quarter. … Forced 23 turnovers. … Malik Beasley scored 15 points.

Thunder: Gilgeous-Alexander and Roby both scored 13 points in the first quarter. … F Darius Bazley was issued a technical foul in the third quarter. … Rookie F Tre Mann scored 15 points. … C Derrick Favors (lower back soreness), F Aaron Wiggins (right ankle sprain), G/F Kenrich Williams (left knee sprain) and G Ty Jerome (sore left hip) sat out for the Thunder.

ROBY ROLLING

Roby scored at least 20 points for the second straight game after having never scored at least 20 points in any of his first 89 NBA games. The third-year forward out of Nebraska made seven of 15 shots.

He’s taking advantage of the extra attention defenses are giving Gilgeous-Alexander.

“You’ve got to have bigs that can catch it in there, and that can make decisions and that can finish,” Daigneault said. “The last couple nights, he’s done a nice job of that based on how they’re guarding Shai.”

EXTRA DEFENDERS

During the third quarter, two floor cleaners got caught up in the action. The Timberwolves got a steal, and before they could get out of the way, the Timberwolves were attacking the basket. They did not score, and play resumed.

BIG NUMBERS

Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 33.4 points, 6.4 assists and 5.8 rebounds in five games since returning from a sprained right ankle. He’s shooting 58.5% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range during his streak.

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Host the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Thunder: Host the Utah Jazz on Sunday.

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Towns, Reid score 20, lead Timberwolves past Thunder 138-101