Wolves, Karl-Anthony Towns hammer short-handed Mavs

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 29 points on 11-for-15 shooting and the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled away for a 121-87 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

Rudy Gobert finished with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting for Minnesota, which won for the fourth time in its past five games. Naz Reid chipped in 12 points off the bench, and Jaden McDaniels finished with 11 points.

Josh Green scored 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting to lead the Mavericks. Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 14 points and Richaun Holmes posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas, which is 4-7 since a three-game winning streak in early January.

The short-handed Mavericks played without Luka Doncic (right ankle sprain), Kyrie Irving (right thumb sprain), Dereck Lively II (broken nose), Dante Exum (right knee bursitis) and Derrick Jones Jr. (left wrist sprain).

The absence of Doncic proved to be particularly costly for the Mavericks as the game wore on. The 24-year-old is averaging 34.7 points per game this season, and he scored 45 points in his most recent game Monday against the Orlando Magic.

Minnesota outscored Dallas 69-39 in the second half and 38-17 in the fourth quarter.

An 8-0 run in the third quarter put the Timberwolves on top by double digits. Minnesota led 57-55 when Towns made back-to-back 3-pointers and assisted on a dunk by Gobert to make it 65-55 with seven minutes to go.

The Mavericks failed to cut into the Timberwolves’ lead. Despite a pair of free throws by Jaden Hardy in the closing seconds, Dallas trailed 83-70 at the end of the third quarter.

Minnesota led 52-48 at the half.

The Timberwolves jumped to an 18-11 lead in the first seven-plus minutes. Anthony Edwards scored seven points in the early going with a layup, a midrange jumper and a 3-pointer.

Dallas pulled back within 24-21 by the end of the first quarter.

The score was even at 46-46 with less than a minute remaining in the first half. Minnesota seized the lead at intermission thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Towns.