NBA regular season

Tight windup: Timberwolves pull into 3-way tie for first in West


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Tight windup: Timberwolves pull into 3-way tie for first in West

HOTSHOTS. Hawks guard Trae Young drives past Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards.

Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Minnesota Timberwolves forge a three-way tie with the Denver Nuggets and the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 1 in the Western Conference, all with just one game left in the regular season

Rudy Gobert scored 25 points and grabbed 19 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves held on for a 109-106 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night, April 12 (Saturday, April 13, Manila time) in Minneapolis.

Naz Reid added 19 points off the bench for Minnesota (56-25), which pulled into a three-way tie with the Denver Nuggets and the Oklahoma City Thunder at 56-25 for the best record in the Western Conference with one game to play in the regular season.

The Nuggets lost to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, while the Thunder beat the Milwaukee Bucks.

Minnesota will wrap up its regular-season campaign against the Phoenix Suns, Denver against the Memphis Grizzlies, and Oklahoma against the Dallas Mavericks – all at 3:30 am on Monday, April 15, Manila time.

Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns scored 11 points and dished 8 assists in his first game since March 4. Towns had been sidelined due to a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Trae Young scored 19 points and distributed 7 assists to lead Atlanta (36-45). Clint Capela recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds.

The score was even at 98-98 with 3:41 to go after Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards sank two free throws.

Kobe Bufkin quickly answered with a basket to put the Hawks on top 100-98.

Towns stepped forward, sinking a go-ahead three-pointer with 2:29 to go. Edwards increased the Timberwolves’ lead to 103-100 by making a jump shot with 1:56 remaining.

Bufkin scored again to cut the deficit to 103-102, but Edwards answered with a jump shot to give the Timberwolves a 105-102 lead with 49.1 seconds left.

Again, Atlanta pulled within one point. A dunk by Bruno Fernando cut the deficit to 105-104 with 21.1 seconds left.

The Hawks sent Edwards to the line, and he calmly made two free throws to put Minnesota ahead 107-104 with 18.1 seconds to play.

Vit Krejci missed a three-point attempt on Atlanta’s next possession, and Gobert made two free throws on the other end to increase the Timberwolves’ lead to 109-104.

Bufkin made a basket in the final seconds to finish the scoring before the buzzer sounded.

The score was even at 80-80 entering the fourth quarter.

The Hawks trailed by as many as 17 points in the third period. 

Edwards made a jump shot to put the Timberwolves on top 76-59 with 6:36 left in the quarter.

Atlanta closed the third on a 21-4 run to erase the deficit. That included a string of 14 consecutive points, capped by a three-pointer from Young with 1:58 remaining.

The Timberwolves held a 56-47 lead at the half. –

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