sports 5 days ago

Towns, Bjelica lift Timberwolves over Wizards, 116-111

Star Tribune (Minneapolis) — By Jerry Zgoda Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

March 13-- WASHINGTON-Timing is everything in comedy and fourth-quarter comebacks, and for the Timberwolves and blossoming Nemanja Bjelica, it meant all in a 116-111 victory over the Wizards at Capital One Arena.

Once 2 for 11 from the field, Bjelica scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and Karl-Anthony Towns capped a 37-point, 10-rebound double-double with a clutch 3-pointer with 29 seconds left.

Towns' 3 gave the Wolves a 114-109 lead that the Wizards trimmed to three points after Markieff Morris scored on a layup with 16.8 seconds left.

When Bjelica's in-bounds pass went off a pressured Andrew Wiggins' hands following a lengthy officiating review, the Wizards had the ball back and 15.8 seconds left.

But Towns pressured Wizards star Bradley Beal along the right sideline as Beal tried to find an open 3-point shot, but Wolves point guard Jeff Teague stole his desperation pass beyond Towns and went the length of the floor for a two-handed slam that gave the Wolves that 116-111 lead with 8.6 seconds left.

Just two days ago, the Wolves had lost three consecutive games, their longest losing streak of the season.

Now they have won two consecutively after beating defending NBA champion Golden State at home Sunday and the Wizards on Tuesday.

Bjelica and Wiggins started the game by combining to shoot 6 for 22 in the first three quarters.

But after going 2-for-11 in those three quarters, Bjelica went 4 for 4 to start the fourth quarter and provided the fuel for a 20-3 run that changed the game.

That run featured his scoring and turned a 95-85 deficit with fewer than 10 minutes left into a 105-98 advantage with 5:13 left.

Bjelica scored nine of those 20 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Wiggins shook off his 4-for-11 shooting start to make his next three shots on two slashes to the rim for layups and a right-wing jumper that came just before the 24-second shot clock expired.

The Wolves followed what coach Tom Thibodeau called maybe their best defensive performance of the season in Sunday's 109-103 victory over Golden State by holding the Wizards down in the fourth quarter until Beal's three-point play ended that lopsided Wolves' run and pulled Washington back within 105-101 in the final five minutes.

When Towns turned the ball over with a pass that missed Tyus Jones, Wizards guard Tomas Satoransky threaded a behind-the-back pass to a cutting Otto Porter for a dunk and a 109-106 deficit with 1:52 left.

When Satoransky made two free throws and Beal made one of two, the Wizards were within 111-109 with 49 seconds left.


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