Karl-Anthony Towns had 39 points and nine rebounds for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who had their offense humming inside and out in a 129-114 victory over the sputtering Golden State Warriors in a potential playoff series preview on Tuesday night.
D'Angelo Russell pitched in 22 points, and Malik Beasley added 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting from 3-point range for Minnesota. The Timberwolves owned a 54-42 edge in points in the paint, too, with the banged-up Warriors mostly out of answers for slowing Towns down around the basket.
Stephen Curry led Golden State with 34 points, but the league's career leader in 3-point shooting went just 5 for 16 from long range with several of his heaves way off the mark. Gary Payton II added 14 points for the Warriors, who have the NBA's second-best record but have lost six of eight games.
The Timberwolves (34-29), who entered the evening 3 1/2 games out of the No. 6 spot in the Western Conference with the play-in avoidance that comes with it, played without Anthony Edwards because of knee tendinitis. They still won their sixth straight game against the Warriors at home, never minding their 11-game losing streak to Golden State on the road for now, and moved a season-best five games above the .500 mark.
The Warriors (43-19), who are suddenly in quite the fight in trying to fend off Memphis (43-20) for second place, were without Klay Thompson for the second straight game because of an illness.
Nemanja Bjelica was held out with a bruised quadriceps, and Moses Moody — who started again at forward with Thompson sidelined — departed in the first quarter with a bruised left eye after a collision with Towns under the basket. Then there's the continued absence of Draymond Green and James Wiseman and the lack of depth to fill in the post.
Andrew Wiggins had eight points in the first 3:08 of the game against his former team, but he went quiet the rest of the way and finished with 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting.
This matchup of the two most frequent 3-point shooting teams in the league was mostly in Minnesota's control, starting with an 18-5 run to close the first quarter. Russell converted a three-point play for a 68-56 lead just before halftime, and the Timberwolves took a 14-3 spurt well into the fourth quarter before Towns checked back in for the final stretch.
Edwards missed a game to injury for the first time in his two-year career, having been out for six games earlier this season due to COVID-19.
Coach Chris Finch said the team will have to manage the condition for the rest of the year and that “everything is on the table” in terms of an extended rest plan. Edwards went 3 for 28 from 3-point range and averaged only 10.4 points over the last five games.
“Its affected him, for sure, no doubt,” Finch said. “He doesn’t feel like he has the confidence or the explosion to do certain things in certain directions.”
Payton has been playing through shin pain. Thompson, who could rejoin the team for the next game, remains on a 30-minute restriction in his ramp-up from a torn Achilles tendon that kept him out of the entire 2020-21 season. Green is still several weeks from returning from his back injury. Wiseman has been practicing with the team but has yet to play in 2021-22 after knee surgery.
Warriors: Jordan Poole, who was 0 for 7 and missed all four of his 3-point tries on Sunday, was again the first man off the bench and went 1 for 6 from deep and had 12 points in 27 minutes. ... Andre Iguodala missed his sixth straight game with lower back tightness.
Timberwolves: This was the 12th game this season for Towns with 30-plus points and the 90th of his seven-year career. ... Jarred Vanderbilt, who was listed as questionable with left shoulder soreness, played 24 minutes and had two points and eight rebounds.
Warriors: Play at Dallas on Thursday night.
Timberwolves: Play at Oklahoma City on Friday night.