NBA & Atlanta Hawks

D’Angelo Russell scores 52, Andrew Wiggins counters with 40 to help Timberwolves beat Warriors in overtime

Timberwolves fans were tortured enough when D'Angelo Russell chose the Warriors over the Wolves in free agency in July.

As if to stick the knife in further, Russell showed them just what they were missing, as he scored a dazzling 52 points Friday at Target Center.

But the fans got a glimpse of something they have been longing for the last few years – the rebirth of Andrew Wiggins.

It was Wiggins who heaped the Wolves onto his skinny shoulders and saved them from the embarrassment of losing to a depleted Golden State team in a 125-119 overtime victory.

Wiggins had 40 points, including a dagger 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining to put the Wolves up four. The Warriors hung in there with the Wolves despite being without Klay Thompson (torn ACL), Stephen Curry (broken hand) and Draymond Green (torn index finger ligament).

Russell was the only Warrior the Wolves had to sweat, and he made them dehydrated. But the Wolves, who were without Jeff Teague (illness) and Shabazz Napier (right hamstring strain) for the second straight game, did enough to get by thanks to Wiggins.

With the score tied 116-116 in overtime, offensive rebounds came to the Wolves' rescue. Put-backs from Josh Okogie, who made a number of plays in the extra session, and Karl-Anthony Towns gave them a 120-116 lead with 2:10 to play. Following a Rusell 3, Wiggins drained his to all but seal the game 123-119 with 23.5 to play.

Towns struggled with early foul trouble to tally 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Russell gave the Wolves fits in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 points in the final five minutes, including a jumper in the eye of his good friend Towns to give Golden State a four-point lead with 29.6 seconds remaining. With the score 110-108 and under 20 seconds to play, Robert Covington forced a jump ball that the Wolves won, leading to Wiggins hitting a layup to tie the score with 5.6 seconds remaining. Russell's attempt to win missed to send the game to overtime.

Wiggins hit five of his first eight shots as the Warriors kept pace with the Wolves in the opening minutes. The Warriors took the biggest lead of the half late in the first when an Alec Burks layup gave them a 27-20 advantage with 2:55 left.

The second quarter got a little hairier for the Wolves, as Towns picked up his third foul with 8:45 remaining in the third and the Wolves trailing 40-39.

But without Towns, the Wolves played the Warriors to a draw the rest of the half and entered the locker room down 61-60.

Wiggins found more success driving to the hoop later in the second quarter and he finished with 16 for the half on 7 of 14 shooting while Russell had 16. The Wolves outscored the Warriors in the paint 38-18.

But with Towns back for the third quarter, the Wolves couldn't take over the game. Their defense wouldn't let them. Transition defense was once against defective, especially in one sequence when three Wolves players ran by Russell as he squared up a 3 from the top of the key. It went in to give Golden State an 81-77 lead with 3:05 remaining in the quarter, prompting a timeout from Ryan Saunders.

The Wolves had success getting to the basket again, but allowed the Warriors to build a small lead when they were taking contested 3s early in the shot clock.

Again the fourth quarter the Wolves found their greatest success attacking the rim while the 3s weren't falling. Golden State stretched its lead to eight early in the quarter but the Wolves stayed within that margin and cut it to 92-91 following a Wiggins on Wiggins layup with 6:42 to play.

His best was yet to come.

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