Teague, Towns help Timberwolves tame Heat
MIAMI — Karl-Anthony Towns prides himself on his distance shooting, and when he couldn’t deliver in the closing seconds of regulation, the Minnesota Timberwolves center capitalized on another long attempt in the additional five minutes.
Towns’ 3-pointer early in overtime keyed a 6-0 run that helped lead the Timberwolves to a 125-122 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday night. The shot helped Towns overcome a similar 3-point attempt at the buzzer that ended regulation.
The Timberwolves (4-3) never trailed after the early overtime surge but needed to withstand a fourth-quarter and overtime scoring blitz from Miami’s Dion Waiters.
“I definitely would have made it if I had a little more time, a little more space,” Towns said of his first attempt. “Overtime, I got the same shot. I knew I was going to hit it.”
Jeff Teague’s two free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining gave the Timberwolves (4-3) their final margin. Waiters’ game-tying 3-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
Teague had 23 points, 11 assists and six steals. Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and Towns finished with a double-double (20 points and 12 rebounds).
Jimmy Butler and Jamal Crawford were Minnesota’s other double-figure scorers with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
“You’ve got to learn to take a punch in this league,” Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We have to improve. We know that. We can’t get tired with the work. There is no way to get around that if we want to improve.”
Waiters scored a game-high 33 points to lead Miami as he converted 14 of 28 shots from the field. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and seven in overtime.
“He’s really been working at it behind the scenes,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “His first step was definitely there. It was great to see.”
Waiters’ layup with three seconds left in the fourth quarter tied it at 110. Towns’ winning 3-point attempt from the corner failed to hit the rim, sending the game to overtime.
Miami (2-4) rallied from a late six-point deficit in regulation as Waiters’ two free throws with 31 seconds left cut Minnesota’s lead to 110-108.
The Timberwolves took a 99-93 lead midway through the fourth quarter after a 9-0 run. Teague’s floating jumper with 5:12 left ended the surge and put Minnesota ahead 99-93.
“They did a great job competing, we kept competing,” Teague said. “It was a battle all the way through.”
Kelly Olynyk finished with 23 points and Goran Dragic scored 18 points for the Heat, who lost their third straight. Bam Adebayo had his first career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
“We were playing with a lot of intensity, playing hard and playing together,” Adebayo said. “It is one step closer. We are one percent better. We just came up short.”
Minnesota was 32 of 35 from the free-throw line and also capitalized on Miami’s season-high 24 turnovers.
The Heat built a 13-point lead early in the second quarter before the Timberwolves responded with 12 straight points later in the quarter. Wiggins’ two free throws with 1:05 left in the quarter gave the Timberwolves their first lead at 59-57.
“It started slowly for us and we had to get out of that hole,” Thibodeau said. “Obviously, you don’t want to start like that, but to fight your way out of it and then to find a way to win it in the end.”
NOTES: C Karl Anthony Towns has double-doubles in six of the Timberwolves’ seven games. The only game in which Towns didn’t end with a double-double was his 28-point, seven-rebound performance against Indiana on Oct. 24. ... The Timberwolves have allowed 60-plus first-half points in three of their last four games. Their only sub-60 point defensive outing during the stretch was a 59-point performance against Oklahoma City on Saturday. ... C Hassan Whiteside missed his fifth consecutive game because of a left knee bruise he sustained in the Heat’s season opener against Orlando on Oct. 18. The absence is Whiteside’s longest since he missed six consecutive games in the 2015-16 season. ... F Okaro White played his longest stretch of the season and finished with six points in 16 minutes. White’s only other appearance lasted 18 seconds against San Antonio on Oct. 25.