PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Anthony Edwards had 40 points, including 14 points in the fourth quarter, and the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied to beat the Portland Trail Blazers 109-107 on Tuesday night.
Karl-Anthony Towns added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who improved to 24-23 to surpass their win total from all of last season (23-49).
It wasn't until 2.9 seconds left in the game when D'Angelo Russell got the game-winning basket on a goaltending call against Portland’s Anfernee Simons. But Edwards sparked the comeback for Timberwolves, who trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half.
“We were missing shots and our defense just wasn’t there in the beginning of the game,” he said. “We made the game harder and it was I feel like. So once we locked in the game changed for us on our side.”
Edwards also had nine rebounds, three steals and three blocks, and made five 3-pointers in his fourth career 40-point game.
“He has that mentality. He believes he can win any battle, any game, any matchup. We’ve seen a few of these type of performances this season. Not only did he have the 40, but when we needed it most, he was making big shots,” Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said.
The Blazers' Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double, longest streak of his career.
The Timberwolves trailed for much of the game until pulling in front in the final moments of the third quarter. The two teams wrestled for the lead early in the fourth, but Russell's 3-pointer put Minnesota up 102-95 with 4:26 left — the team's biggest lead of the game to that point.
Norman Powell made a pair of free throws to pull Portland within 106-104 with 54.3 seconds left. Russell then made one of a pair of free throws, opening the door for CJ McCollum to tie the game at 107 with a 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds left.
The Blazers were back in Portland for a quick two-game homestand after an extended road trip during which they went 4-2. While on the road, the Blazers saw the return of McCollum, who missed 17 games with a collapsed right long and the birth of his first child.
Then on Tuesday, Powell returned to the court after missed the last eight games because of COVID-19 protocols and personal reasons. Portland is still missing star guard Damian Lillard, who is out indefinitely after abdominal surgery.
The Timberwolves were without Patrick Beverly, who missed his second game with a right ankle sprain.
Ben McLemore's 3-pointer gave Portland a 34-26 lead in the opening half. The Blazers went into the break ahead 63-55.
Portland was hampered in the third quarter when Nurkic collected his fourth foul and went to the bench. Without his defense, the Timberwolves closed the gap to 79-77 late in the quarter on Towns' 3-pointer.
Edwards' 3-pointer tied the game at 82 and he followed up with a layup that gave Minnesota the lead going into the fourth quarter.
“This whole game was a great learning experience, obviously learned a lot on the fly. Sometimes it's going to be lessons on good nights, sometimes lessons on bad nights. I think you've just got to turn the page and move toward tomorrow,” said Simons, who finished with 17 points.
It was the second of four meetings between the two teams this season. The Timberwolves won the first, 116-111 in Portland on Dec. 12. It was the first time that Minnesota has won twice in Portland in a single season,
Timberwolves: The game against the Blazers was the first of a three-game road trip. ... Minnesota was coming off a 136-125 victory at home over Brooklyn. ... Edwards led all scorers with 19 points in the first half alone.
Trail Blazers: Nassir Little was leading the Blazers with 20 points when he appeared to injure his left shoulder with just over eighth minutes left in the game. ... Portland announced during the game that backup center Cody Zeller underwent surgery earlier Tuesday to repair a right patellar avulsion fracture. The team said he'll be reevaluated in eight to 10 weeks. Zeller was averaging 5.2 points and 4.6 rebounds a game this season. ... Russell finished with 22 points.
Timberwolves: Visit Golden State on Thursday night.
Trail Blazers: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
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