Home Sports NBA playoffs: Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves finally grab win over Mavericks to avoid sweep

NBA playoffs: Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves finally grab win over Mavericks to avoid sweep

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Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves, after falling 0-3 in the series, forced a Game 5 in the Western Conference finals.

After all, there won’t be a pair of conference finals sweeps this postseason.

After struggling to get past Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks early in the series, the Minnesota Timberwolves are finally on the board. The Timberwolves pulled ahead in the fourth quarter thanks to a big second half from Karl-Anthony Towns on Tuesday night to claim a 105-100 victory in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals at American Airlines Center.

The victory marks the first of the series for the Timberwolves and forces a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis. However, the Mavericks still hold a 3-1 series lead and are just one win away from their first trip to the NBA Finals in 13 years. The Timberwolves, who have never reached the Finals, will still have to win three games in a row to surprise the Mavericks and make NBA history.

The Timberwolves outscored the Mavericks early on Tuesday night, neutralizing almost everyone but Dončić in the first 12 minutes. The Mavericks shot just 6 of 21 from the field to open the game, and allowed a huge 14-2 burst to the Timberwolves.

The Mavericks, however, came alive before halftime. They entered the locker room tied 47-47 after using several big runs to get back into the game. The Mavericks also scored 20 points off turnovers in the first half.

After managing just five points in the first half, Towns began playing much better than he did on Sunday, where he was just 5 of 18 from the field and 0 of 8 from behind the arc. He opened the game shooting 6 of 7 from the field and hit a 3-pointer early in the third to cap an 8-0 run and put the Timberwolves ahead again in the period. But Towns committed his fifth foul of the night just after midway through the quarter.

Timberwolves coach Chris Finch also received a technical foul after Towns’ fifth foul. That sent Towns to the bench. Despite losing it early in the period, the Timberwolves still took a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.

The Mavericks held their own with the Timberwolves early in the fourth quarter and closed the gap to a one-possession game almost immediately thanks in part to a wild and one from Dončić to Derrick Jones Jr., who easily tipped the ball over Rudy Gobert .

However, the Timberwolves finally began to pull away just after midway through the fourth quarter, after Towns hit consecutive 3-pointers. That put Minnesota up by five points at the time, and sparked an 11-2 run that Towns added to with another 3-pointer a few minutes later. But with the Timberwolves up by eight, Towns committed his sixth foul of the night and was forced to leave the game early.

Despite a quick 5-0 burst by the Mavericks to cut the score to a single possession almost instantly with Towns on the bench, Edwards responded with a bucket to keep them at bay. That allowed the Timberwolves to hold on for a five-point victory and force another game in the series. A desperation three-pointer from Dončić, which left Edwards dazed behind him, made no difference in the final seconds.

Edwards led the Timberwolves with a near triple-double in the victory. He had 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Towns finished with 25 points and five rebounds and was 9 of 13 from the field. He also shot 4 of 5 from behind the arc. All five Timberwolves starters reached double figures and shot nearly 53% from the field as a unit.

Dončić finished with another triple-double for the Mavericks. He had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss. Kyrie Irving added 16 points and four assists after going just 1 of 6 from behind the arc.

Game 5 of the series is scheduled for Thursday night in Minneapolis.

This post will be updated with more information soon.

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