MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 25 points and a season-high 21 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Brooklyn Nets 120-113 on Monday after finally trading Jimmy Butler.
The Nets lost leading scorer Caris LeVert to what appeared to be a severe right leg injury late in the first half.
Jeff Teague returned from a six-game absence to score 24 points for Minnesota, which snapped a five-game losing streak.
The Timberwolves officially dealt Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, along with big man Justin Patton. The Wolves received Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick in the trade.
Butler had asked for a trade earlier in the season but coach and president of basketball of operations Tom Thibodeau said Monday that the team tried to remain patient in waiting for the right deal for the All-Star. Thibodeau refuted a report that Butler’s trade demand included sending him to only a handful of teams.
LeVert’s gruesome injury brought the entire crowd at Target Center to a silence. LeVert spent several minutes on the court being attended by medical personnel. Timberwolves players huddled in prayer while Nets players surrounded their injured teammate before he was wheeled off the court.
LeVert, a former first-round pick in his third season, was averaging a team-high 19 points entering the game. He had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists before suffering the injury. LeVert was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. Players from around the league tweeted out their support for LeVert shortly after the injury occurred.
D’Angelo Russell made a career-high nine 3-pointers and scored 31 points for the Nets, who shot a season-worst 39.6 percent from the field.
Neither team led by more than five points until late in the third quarter, when Gorgui Dieng’s 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Teague extended Minnesota’s advantage to 10 points. Brooklyn cut it to 97-96 early in the fourth before the Wolves pulled away.
Minnesota overcame a season-high 23 turnovers.
Nets: Host Miami on Wednesday night.
Timberwolves: Host New Orleans on Wednesday night.
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