Taj Gibson scored a season-high 25 points and filled in nicely for injured center Karl-Anthony Towns, as the Minnesota Timberwolves ran their home winning streak to six games with a 103-92 victory over the New York Knicks on Sunday in Minneapolis.
Towns (right knee inflammation) missed the third game of his career after injuring his knee with eight seconds left in Saturday’s overtime win over Washington. The injury appeared significantly worse when Towns limped off the floor but and was held out of Sunday’s game as a precaution after participating in pregame warmups.
He also sat out Minnesota’s 115-104 win in New York on Feb. 22 after getting into a car accident on the way to the airport in Minneapolis.
Gibson scored 39 combined points when he filled in for Towns Feb. 22-23 in New York and Milwaukee, and he continued to capably play center on Sunday. He finished three points shy of his career high, shot 11 of 15 and did a bulk of his damage in the paint, where the Wolves finished with a 54-40 advantage.
Jeff Teague collected 20 points and 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double as the Wolves shot 44.7 percent while playing without Andrew Wiggins (right quad) for the second straight game.
Rookie Keita Bates-Diop filled in for Wiggins and contributed a career-high 18 points. He scored nine points in the third quarter, when Minnesota expanded a 55-45 halftime lead to 80-65.
Damyean Dotson scored 26 points for the Knicks, whose losing streak reached six games. The Knicks shot 43 percent, committed 17 turnovers and were held under 100 points for the 20th time.
Minnesota began to run away from the Knicks in the opening minutes of the third quarter. The Wolves expanded to lead to 66-50 when Teague connected with Dario Saric on a cutting layup with 7:35 remaining and took an 80-65 lead into the fourth.
Minnesota took an 85-65 lead early in the fourth on a 3-pointer by Tyus Jones, but the Knicks were within 95-85 on a layup by Dennis Smith Jr. with 3:31 left. After Gibson missed a 20-footer, Saric stole the ball from Kevin Knox, and Cameron Reynolds hit a 3-pointer with 3:02 left to make it 98-85 to essentially clinch the win.
—Field Level Media