Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points and Anthony Edwards added 23 points with eight assists as the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves earned a 121-100 over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday in a showdown between two of the top teams in the Western Conference.
Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker added 15 points as the first-place Timberwolves improved to 2-1 on a five-game road trip in advance of the All-Star break. Jaden McDaniels and Naz Reid each scored 11 points.
Minnesota used a stifling defense to take over the game, outscoring Los Angeles 40-19 in the third period. Los Angeles was held to 35 percent from the floor in the quarter.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George each scored 18 points and James Harden added 17 for the Clippers, who had moved within a half-game of the first-place Wolves with an NBA-best 26-6 run since the start of December.
Minnesota strengthened its hold on the top spot in the conference by holding Los Angeles to 40.5 percent shooting for the game.
Russell Westbrook scored 11 points and Ivica Zubac added 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who have lost two of their last three games. Their final game before the break will be Tuesday at Golden State. Los Angeles fell to 20-6 at home.
The Timberwolves started fast, taking an early 26-17 lead and finishing the first quarter with a 28-24 advantage. Minnesota went back on top by as many as 10 points in the second quarter and held a 53-49 lead at halftime.
The Clippers managed to pull even at 62-62 with 7:23 remaining in the third quarter before the Timberwolves put their stamp on the game. Minnesota closed the period on a 12-1 run to take an 89-72 lead and were never threatened from there.
Of the Clippers’ four losses over the past month, two have come against the Timberwolves, including a 109-105 setback on Jan. 14 in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves will have a chance for the three-game season sweep when the teams meet again March 12 at Los Angeles.
–Field Level Media
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