MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 41 points and 14 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves spoiled Paul George’s return to the Oklahoma City lineup with a 131-120 win over the Thunder on Tuesday night.
Towns has 180 points over his last five games, the best five-game stretch in team history. He fell one point shy of tying his season high.
The All-Star center scored 16 in the third quarter as Minnesota kept its foot on the gas after taking a 14-point lead into halftime. He capped the victory with a thunderous dunk to give him his second 40-point game of the season.
The Timberwolves, who snapped a three-game skid, have won all three meetings against the Thunder. Minnesota began the night six games out of a playoff spot.
Derrick Rose added 19 points and Andrew Wiggins scored 18 for Minnesota.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook had a team-high 38 points on 15-of-28 shooting.
George returned to the court for the Thunder after missing three games with a right shoulder injury. He scored 25 points in his return but was 8 of 25 from the field, including 4 for 14 from 3-point range.
Rose scored eight points in the final 2:04 of the first quarter to push Minnesota’s lead to 30-22 after one. The Thunder had erased a 10-point deficit before Rose’s late outburst put the Wolves back on top.
After picking up two fouls early in the first quarter, Towns got hot in the second. He scored six straight Timberwolves points and finished the half with 15.
Oklahoma City never led by more than three and couldn’t get closer than nine in the fourth quarter.
Thunder: Will also face Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah on their four-game road trip before returning home on March 13. . G Dennis Schroder picked up a technical foul midway through the second quarter, his ninth of the season. . Oklahoma City had won seven of its last 10 at Minnesota.
Timberwolves: F Luol Deng missed his third straight game with a sore left Achilles. Deng was averaging 9.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in his last 12 games after playing sparingly most of the season. . Towns moved into fifth place on Minnesota’s career scoring list, passing Wally Szczerbiak (6,777 points). . Wiggins averaged 35 points in the first two games against Oklahoma City this season.
Thunder: At the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.
Timberwolves: Visit the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.