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Timberwolves avoid sweep, edge Mavericks


Anthony Edwards Timberwolves beat Mavericks Game 4 NBA Playoffs

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) reacts to a play during the second half in Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

DALLAS — Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held off the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday night to avoid a sweep in the NBA Western Conference finals.

Anthony Edwards had 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Timberwolves stayed alive in their first trip to the conference finals in 20 years, and just the second in the franchise’s 35 seasons.

Now the third-seeded Timberwolves heads home for Game 5 on Thursday night to see if it can make the series even more interesting against the No. 5 seed Mavericks.

Luka Doncic had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in his sixth triple-double of these playoffs, but he and co-star Kyrie Irving were just 13 of 39 from the field. Irving, who was 14-0 in his career in closeout games coming in, finished with 16 points.

The Timberwolves have led in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter of every game in the series, and this time they finished.

READ: NBA: Mavericks’ Lively out in Game 4 with sprained neck

Towns, who picked up his fifth foul midway through the third quarter, put the Timberwolves ahead for good on a 3-pointer with 5:41 remaining, then hit another from deep the next time down.

Edwards put the Wolves up five with a jumper just inside the arc with 39 seconds left, and Minnesota hung on despite Edwards fouling Doncic on a made 3-pointer for a three-point Dallas deficit with 12 seconds to go.

Doncic missed the free throw, and Naz Reid hit a bucket to push the margin back to five with 11 seconds remaining.

READ: Closers Doncic, Irving have Mavericks on verge of NBA Finals

Towns appeared to be finding a rhythm, scoring 10 points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter before picking up his fifth foul for elbowing P.J. Washington Jr. in the face as Towns went up for a shot.

The call against Towns prompted a technical foul against Minnesota coach Chris Finch from the second row, where he’s been confined since the start of the second round of the playoffs because of a knee injury that required surgery. Assistant Micah Nori has been roaming the sidelines.

Finch flirted with a second technical, which would have meant an ejection, a few minutes later when Edwards was called for his fourth foul going for a steal against Daniel Gafford.

Towns found the rhythm again in the fourth, and finished nine of 13 from the field, including four of five from deep.

The Wolves avoided being the 16th team out of 21 to get swept after losing the first three games of a series that started at home. Now they’ll try to be just the fourth to force at least six games.

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Mike Conley scored 14 points for Minnesota, and Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Jaden Hardy scored 10 of his 13 points in a 3:38 stretch that spilled into the first bucket of the fourth quarter, a corner 3 that pulled Dallas within two. Four of the game’s 11 lead changes came in the fourth.

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