Karl-Anthony Towns made a tiebreaking free throw with half a second remaining in overtime Friday night, giving the Minnesota Timberwolves a 131-130 victory that dropped the visiting Golden State Warriors into a tie for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Kevin Durant fouled Towns as he was breaking for the basket on an inbounds play. Durant was called for a pushing foul near the hoop even though the pass appeared to be clearly over both players’ heads.
Towns made the first of two free throws before missing the second intentionally, which allowed time to run out.
The Golden State loss allowed Denver, which won earlier in the night at Oklahoma City, to draw even with the Warriors for the top spot in the West at 51-24 with seven games remaining.
The controversial finish followed another potential game-determining call with 5.8 seconds remaining in the extra session and Golden State trailing by three.
The ball was inbounded to Durant, who upon catching the pass immediately cast a 3-pointer that went in while a foul was being called.
But instead of rewarding Durant with a game-tying hoop and a chance to put Golden State on top at the free-throw line, officials ruled that the foul had occurred in the instant before the shot, erasing the hoop and giving the ball back to the Warriors out of bounds.
Golden State then inbounded to Stephen Curry, who hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 0.5 seconds left on the clock to draw even.
The 3-pointer was the 11th of the game for Curry, who finished with a game-high 37 points.
Durant had 23 points to go with 12 rebounds and seven assists while Klay Thompson totaled 20 points, DeMarcus Cousins 16 and Andre Iguodala 14 for the Warriors, who were attempting to sweep the season series from the Timberwolves after three earlier wins.
Andrew Wiggins led eight Timberwolves in double figures with 24 points.
Karl-Anthony Towns recorded a 15-point, 13-rebound double-double for Minnesota, while Josh Okogie chipped in with 21 points, Jerryd Bayless 17, Anthony Tolliver and Gorgui Dieng 14 apiece, Tyus Jones 12, and Dario Saric 10.
The Warriors barely made it to overtime after trailing 106-97 following a Bayless layup with 5:14 to go.
Golden State still trailed 115-109 with less than two minutes to play before Iguodala scored on a dunk, Curry buried a 3-pointer and Draymond Green hit one of two free throws, the last point drawing the Warriors even with 21.8 seconds remaining.
The Timberwolves got two subsequent shots, but Wiggins misfired on a pair of 3-point attempts, including a buzzer-beating 27-footer after grabbing the deflected rebound from his initial miss.
Golden State used 20 assists to build a 68-54 halftime lead, but the Timberwolves caught up by the end of the third quarter, then appeared to take charge in the first seven minutes of the fourth.
Tolliver and Bayless hit 3-pointers during Minnesota’s early burst in the fourth period, during which the Timberwolves twice went up by nine.
—Field Level Media