MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 34 points, and reserve guard Jaylen Nowell added 23 points for the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 134-122 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns added 21 points for Minnesota, which bounced back after a 115-106 loss to San Antonio at home Monday. Jalen McDaniels scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, who hit a season-high 20 3-pointers.
“I think we got to take a couple punches in the face to realize that we need to come out like that all the time,” Edwards said. “That punch that we took versus San Antonio the first game kind of woke us up.”
Keldon Johnson had a team-high 27 points for the Spurs, who were without guards Devin Vassell and Josh Primo due to injuries. Doug McDermott added 19.
“Without those two guys, things look a little different,” said Josh Richardson, who started for Vassell. “But it’s next man up and I’m proud of how everybody competed. The Timberwolves are a tough matchup for any team, especially coming in here short is not easy.”
After scoring just nine points Monday, Edwards promised better energy and brought it from the beginning by scoring 16 points with five 3s.
“Ant was special tonight,” Towns said. “Went out there and he was him, hit a lot of shots and it translated to us being home, giving the fans that energy, giving us that energy and that comfort.”
Minnesota entered the game among the league’s poorest shooting teams from beyond the arc, hitting just 28.7% for the season. The Wolves averaged 9.8 made 3s a game and set a franchise record for a quarter with 10 makes in the first quarter Wednesday
They finished 20 of 34 (58.8%) from 3.
Minnesota led by as many as 17, but San Antonio made another third-quarter push, as it did in Monday’s win. The Spurs scored 41 points in the quarter, led by Johnson’s 13, and had closed within 80-75 at one point.
“We weren’t solid and sharp in the first half and they took advantage of it,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “We got back in it in the third quarter. That tells me a lot about the team. I think everybody tried to play their role and I think did.”
But this time, the Wolves didn’t relent. Nowell sparked Minnesota and had the home crowd chanting his name.
“I never care about who’s guarding me,” Nowell said. “I know that when I can get to my spots, and I could just raise up, it’s just a matter of if I can make it or miss it.”
It wasn’t just the 3-pointers that had vexed the Wolves this season.
They entered play being outscored by 46 points in the third this season, an average of 11.5 points per game, both league-worst totals. San Antonio outscored them 36-14 in the third Monday and followed with a 41-34 third quarter Wednesday.
Spurs: Vassell (left knee soreness) and Primo (left glute spasms) each missed their first game with their respective injuries. Josh Richardson started in place of Vassell and scored 11 points with 10 assists. … San Antonio had 16 turnovers, leading to 22 points for Minnesota. … The Spurs biggest lead was one point early in the first.
Timberwolves: Forward Kyle Anderson missed his third straight game with back spasms. Guard Austin Rivers missed his second game with right hip soreness. … The 10 3-pointers in the first tied the most in a quarter by any team over the last two seasons. … Minnesota had a season-high 37 assists. … Rudy Gobert had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Spurs: Return home against Chicago Bulls Friday.
Timberwolves: Host Los Angeles Lakers Friday.
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