Karl-Anthony Towns erupted for a career-high 60 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves ran riot against the San Antonio Spurs in a night of high scoring across the NBA on Monday.
Towns’ franchise-record masterclass was the highest individual score in a single NBA game this season and laid the foundation for a 149-139 victory on the road in Texas.
Thirty-two of Towns’ points haul came in the third quarter. The 26-year-old drained seven-of-11 attempts from three-point range and was 19-of-31 from the field overall.
“I wish I could give you all more energy but I’m tired as hell,” a weary Towns told reporters after a win that sees Minnesota improve to 40-30 to remain firmly in the hunt for an automatic playoff berth in the West.
“Great game, great team win. I told everyone in the locker room -– this happens because of y’all,” Towns said. “None of this happens without my team-mates saying, ‘We want you to have a chance at history’.
“They have to pass me the ball. For them to all be on the same page speaks volumes about the chemistry of this team.”
Minnesota coach Chris Finch echoed Towns’ comments, praising the Timberwolves “team dynamic.”
“Our guys all root for their team-mates’ success,” Finch said. “People see how incredibly talented KAT is and what he’s able to do.
“They know he’s the guy and he can take us to these types of performances when we need him the most.”
Green boosts Warriors
Steph Curry bagged his seventh 40-point game of the season as the Golden State Warriors marked the return of Draymond Green with a 126-112 win over the Washington Wizards in San Francisco.
Curry finished with 47 points as the Warriors bagged their fourth straight win. Significantly, Monday’s game marked the first time since 2019 that Curry, Green and Klay Thompson — three pillars of the club’s success over the past decade — appeared on court together.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr was delighted by the successful return of Green. “The chessboard changes when Draymond is out there,” Kerr said.
“We have a pretty unique group of stars. They really make each other better. That’s the beauty of our team.”
Curry’s scoring was backed by 20-point hauls from Thompson and Jordan Poole.
In other games, Nikola Jokic won his duel with potential MVP successor Joel Embiid as the Denver Nuggets came from behind to score a 114-110 road victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
The much-anticipated showdown between reigning NBA MVP Jokic and Sixers ace Embiid — seen as the front-runner for this year’s award — did not disappoint.
Serbian star Jokic finished with 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists as Denver halted their two-game losing streak to improve to 41-28.
Embiid led the scoring for Philadelphia with 34 points while James Harden added 24.
Denver maintained their sixth-place position in the Western Conference — the last of the automatic playoff berths.
Jokic was backed with 21 points from Bones Hyland while Will Barton chipped in with 20 points.
Jokic delivered the highlight reel-worthy moment of the game late in the fourth quarter, making an incredible running jump shot to put the Nuggets 112-108 ahead with 1min 32sec remaining.
Denver coach Michael Malone played down the significance of the duel between Jokic and Embiid.
“I understand the hoopla about that — two dominant big men who are MVP candidates,” Malone said. “But for us it was just important to get a win.
In Utah, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 30 points as the Milwaukee Bucks scored a 117-111 win over the Jazz.
Jrue Holiday added 29 points and Khris Middleton 23 as the Bucks scored their first win in Utah for 21 years.
“The competitiveness, the resilience in the fourth quarter on the road in a tough environment…this is a tough place to play. It’s a good win for us on the road,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
In Los Angeles, the Lakers’ problems continued with a 114-103 defeat to the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto led from start to finish, with their lead reaching 28 points at one stage in the third quarter before a late flurry of scoring that flattered the Lakers.
A humiliation had been on the cards early on, with the Raptors leading 33-12 at the end of the first quarter.
“Just can’t put the ball in the basket,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of the first-quarter performance.
“I think our effort was good, but our offense was putting us in a tough spot.”