LOS ANGELES (AP) — D’Angelo Russell made a 3-pointer as time expired and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a huge game by Karl-Anthony Towns and defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 110-109 on Sunday night.
Tyler Ennis added a career-high 20 off the bench for Los Angeles, which has won a season-high four consecutive games.
Towns had 40 points on 17-of-22 shooting from the floor and grabbed 21 rebounds, one shy from tying his career high. Andrew Wiggins scored 41 points for Minnesota, which lost its fourth straight and has dropped 10 of its last 13.
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Ignoring the potential draft-lottery implications, the Lakers were content to allow Towns and Wiggins run wild while containing the rest of the Timberwolves. Only four Minnesota players had scored before Omri Casspi made a layup with 6:43 remaining.
Los Angeles now has the third-worst record in the NBA, moving one game ahead of Phoenix in the win column. The Suns defeated Dallas 124-111 earlier on Sunday.
If the Lakers’ draft pick falls outside the top three, they lose it to Philadelphia, while Orlando would receive their 2019 first-round pick from the Dwight Howard trade.
After falling behind by 16, the Timberwolves closed out the second quarter on a 21-7 run led by Towns and Wiggins. Gorgui Dieng and Shabazz Muhammad were the only other Minnesota players to score in the first half, as the seven Timberwolves not named Towns and Wiggins were a combined 3 of 18 from the field.
Timberwolves: Towns made 17 of 22 shots from the floor and was one rebound away from tying his career high. … Dieng finished with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Muhammad had 12 points.
Lakers: Demonstrating consistent effort on defense has been a learning process for Los Angeles’ young roster, but it showed up here and led to easy offense. The Lakers outscored the Timberwolves 27-16 on fast-break points, including a 16-0 edge in the first half.
NO REPEAT FOR RUBIO
After torching the Lakers for 33 points in their last meeting, setting season highs with 12 made field goals and 20 attempts from the field, Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio was a decided non-factor. Rubio’s first points came on a layup with 2:50 remaining, having missed his first eight shots.
Rubio finished with two points and 11 assists.
FAREWELL WORLD PEACE?
Lakers coach Luke Walton has seen the entire arc of Metta World Peace’s unlikely transformation from the superstar at the center of a near-riot to NBA champion, respected elder statesman and veteran presence. If World Peace is coming toward the end of his time with the Lakers or his 16-year career as a whole, Walton will make sure World Peace gets his due in the team’s home finale Tuesday.
“We want to reward Metta every chance we get for how great he’s been this year with the way he’s worked and the way he’s helped the young guys and just being positive,” Walton said before Sunday’s game. “He’ll get his standing O on Tuesday night whether it is his last game here or not.”
World Peace, who has spent six seasons with the Lakers across two different stints and was part of the 2009-10 title-winning team, has not announced whether he intends to retire or continue playing.
Timberwolves: Host Oklahoma City on Tuesday. Minnesota has conceded just one triple-double to Russell Westbrook in three meetings this season, and it came in the Timberwolves’ lone win over the Thunder on Jan. 13. Westbrook had 21 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in Minnesota’s 96-86 win, offset by 10 turnovers.
Lakers: Host New Orleans on Tuesday.
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