A regulation NBA game takes 48 minutes, but it only took 12 to decide the winner of the Brooklyn Nets-Minnesota Timberwolves matchup Saturday night.
Jumping out to a 30-11 lead after one quarter, Minnesota led by double figures for most of the last three quarters in a 111-97 decision at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Six players reached double figures for the Timberwolves. Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler led the way with 21 points each, while Karl-Anthony Towns and reserve Jamal Crawford scored 16 apiece. Towns also hauled in 19 rebounds.
Taj Gibson chipped in 14 points and Tyus Jones came off the bench to tally 13 as Minnesota notched its 10th consecutive home victory.
Jahlil Okafor paced Brooklyn with 21 points in a reserve role, while another substitute, Nik Stauskas, hit for 15. DeMarre Carroll bagged 12 points, and Jarrett Allen came off the bench to net 10. Nets starters combined to score just 34 points.
Okafor sank two free throws with 8:16 left to pull Brooklyn within 88-79. However, the Timberwolves scored the next 10 points, Butler and Towns each canning two foul shots with 5:55 left to restore a 19-point lead.
Nets coach Kenny Atkinson wasn’t around to watch those free throws or anything else down the stretch. He was given two technical fouls and ejected after Carroll was whistled for a foul on Towns.
Leading 20-11 with 2:43 left in the first period after Carroll made a free throw, the Timberwolves rattled off 17 consecutive points, including 10 to close out the first. Crawford contributed 11 points to that run, making two foul shots to end the first and a 3-pointer to start the second.
The Nets never quit working the game, though, and were able to make it look respectable by outscoring Minnesota 31-17 for the second quarter’s remainder. When Stauskas drained a 3-pointer with 19.5 seconds remaining in the half, Brooklyn was within 54-42 at intermission.
Brooklyn shot 46.3 percent from the floor to Minnesota’s 44.2 percent accuracy, but the Timberwolves sank 23 of 26 free throws while the Nets were just 12 of 15 from the line.
—Field Level Media