LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Minnesota Timberwolves stopped their NBA skid in dramatic style on Sunday, beating the reigning champion Golden State Warriors, 109-103, in Minneapolis.
Karl-Anthony Towns dominated inside, finishing with 31 points and 16 rebounds for a Timberwolves team that had lost three straight, all without injured All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.
“He dominated – dominated,” said teammate Andrew Wiggins said of Towns. “On the glass, offensively, defensively. He was all over the floor and had some big shots, big shots, to help us win.”
“This is big for us, because this is one of the best teams in the league, if not the best,” Wiggins said.
“So if we can play good against them and win, play good defensively, rebound the ball like we did tonight, we can do that against anybody.”
The short-handed Warriors, trying to salvage a two-game road trip after falling in Portland on Friday, again came up short with superstar Stephen Curry sidelined by a sprained right ankle.
Kevin Durant scored 39 points and pulled down 12 rebounds for Golden State. But he connected on just 11 of 32 of his shots from the field and sharp-shooter Klay Thompson needed 22 shots to score just 21 points.
Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 10 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
But the Warriors, who were also missing Andre Iguodala, David West, Patrick McCaw and Jordan Bell, shot just 40.7 percent from the field and lost back-to-back games for only the second time this season.
With neither team able to build a big cushion, they were tied at 84-84 entering the fourth quarter.
Golden State pulled within one, at 104-103, on Durant’s three-pointer with 2:08 left to play.
But the Timberwolves responded with consecutive baskets from Towns.
The Warriors missed their last four shots from the field.
Eastern Conference leaders Toronto cruised past the New York Knicks, 132-106, sending them to a seventh straight defeat.
Raptors star DeMar DeRozan connected on just four of 16 shots from the floor for nine points, but Jonas Valanciunas’ scored 17 in 22 minutes to lead seven Toronto players in double figures.
In New Orleans, Ricky Rubio scored 30 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists as his Utah Jazz withstood a triple-double from Anthony Davis in a 116-99 victory over the Pelicans.
Davis had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks in his return from a one-game injury absence with a sprained left ankle. But he had no win to celebrate on his 25th birthday.