EditorsNote: rewords third graf
Karl-Anthony Towns collected 36 points and 14 rebounds as the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves overcame a 50-point performance from Kyrie Irving in a 127-126 overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday in the season opener for both teams.
Irving had the ball in his hands on the final possession, but the six-time All-Star lost his footing off the dribble and forced a shot that caromed off the rim as time expired.
Towns sank a career-high seven 3-pointers, and Andrew Wiggins added 21 points for the Timberwolves, who overcame squandering an 18-point, second-quarter lead to hand Brooklyn its seventh straight season-opening loss.
Irving shot 17 of 33 from the field in his first game since he and the injured Kevin Durant elected to sign with Brooklyn in the summer. The point total was the seventh best in franchise history and the most by a Nets player making his debut, eclipsing the 30 posted by Hall of Famer Nate “Tiny” Archibald with then-New Jersey in 1976 as well as D’Angelo Russell in 2017.
Brooklyn had a chance to take the lead late in regulation, but Jarrett Allen missed a pair of free throws with 5.7 seconds remaining.
The Nets saw a 98-90 lead evaporate in the fourth quarter, with Towns drilling a step-back 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 run and another to give the Timberwolves a 104-100 advantage with 5:42 remaining.
Irving countered with a pair of 3-pointers of his own to give the Nets a 115-112 lead before Towns answered from behind the arc to forge a tie.
Taurean Prince scored all 15 of his points in the third for Brooklyn, which outscored Minnesota by a 37-20 margin in that quarter.
Prince, who agreed to a two-year, $29 million contract extension on Monday, scored five quick points to highlight a 15-2 run to begin the third quarter for the Nets.
Irving’s nifty behind-the-back pass set up Joe Harris’ 3-pointer to give Brooklyn a brief 71-70 lead with 8:19 left in the quarter before Prince’s shot from beyond the arc gave the club an 83-80 edge just under five minutes later.
Minnesota ignited its offense late in the first quarter to score 26 of the next 37 points to claim a 46-28 lead midway into the second. Jake Layman capped a personal 8-0 run by drilling a pair of 3-pointers in that stretch.
—Field Level Media