NEW YORK (AP) – Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves clinched their first winning record in 13 years by beating the New York Knicks 108-104 on Friday night.
Taj Gibson scored 18 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Wolves improve to 42-31. They came into the night tied with Utah for seventh place in the Western Conference. Nemanja Bjelica also had 17 points.
The Timberwolves hadn’t finished with a winning record since going 44-38 in 2004-05, the season after their last playoff appearance. Minnesota is trying to end the NBA’s longest current postseason drought.
New York Knicks forward Troy Williams, top, pulls a rebound down against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones (1) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 23, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored a career-high 39 points for the Knicks, who have dropped two in a row after winning two straight following a nine-game losing streak. Enes Kanter had 11 points and 15 rebounds.
Minnesota led by as much as 16 and never trailed in the first half, but ended up with a tough time.
The Knicks cut it to nine by halftime, then came back with an unusually strong start to the quarter that mostly gives them fits.
Hardaway opened it with a 3-pointer a converted a go-ahead three-point play during what became a 15-0 run to open the second half and give New York a 63-57 lead. Jamal Crawford settled the Wolves down and shot them back into the lead midway through the period, and Minnesota took an 84-82 edge to the fourth.
The Wolves regained control with a 14-5 surge that made it 101-89 on Towns’ three-point play, but Hardaway had one last push that cut it to four in the closing minutes.
Timberwolves: Derrick Rose didn’t travel with the Wolves because of a sprained right ankle. … Minnesota had lost all three road games against Atlantic Division teams.
Knicks: G Emmanuel Mudiay, acquired from Denver at the trade deadline, started and played the first five minutes, then didn’t return. He was scoreless and the Knicks were outscored by eight points while he was in. … Former Knicks guard Nate Robinson attended the game … New York has lost eight straight against Washington, its next opponent. The Knicks visit the Wizards on Sunday.
Other than a visit to Philadelphia on Saturday, the Wolves began a soft part of their schedule with Friday’s game. The three after Philadelphia are against Memphis, Atlanta and Dallas, who like the Knicks, are all among the worst teams in the league.
Timberwolves: Visit Philadelphia on Saturday.
Knicks: Visit Washington on Sunday.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives against New York Knicks center Enes Kanter (00) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 23, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague (0) passes off the ball against New York Knicks center Enes Kanter, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 23, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) dunks against the New York Knicks during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 23, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague (0) shoots against New York Knicks guard Trey Burke (23) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, March 23, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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