WASHINGTON (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves had no problem in their first game without star center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points, Robert Covington and Jarrett Culver each added 20 and the Timberwolves cruised to a 131-109 victory over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
Towns was serving the first of a two-game suspension for fighting with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid on Wednesday. In his first four games, Towns was among the league leaders in scoring and rebounds.
“We knew we were missing Kat,” Wiggins said. “Kat’s not somebody you can replace, so everyone had to step up, and that’s what everyone did.
“You’ve just got to remember, we play a certain way. You don’t want to get out of character.”
Minnesota, which improved to 4-1 for the first time since 2012-13, had six players in double figures.
Bradley Beal scored 30 points for Washington (1-4). The Wizards began the 2018-19 season with seven losses in eight games.
“We were in a fog,” coach Scott Brooks said. “There’s no excuses. It’s on me.”
Minnesota led throughout the game. The Wolves were already ahead by 10 with 3 ½ minutes gone in the second quarter and increased their lead steadily.
Wiggins’ 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter extended the lead to 106-72.
Gorgui Dieng, who started in place of Towns, scored 18 points. Jeff Teague had 15 points and 13 assists, and Jake Layman added 14 points.
Dieng had played just six minutes all season, not getting to play in three of the first four games.
“Even though he wasn’t playing this year, he stayed ready, he stayed in place,” Wiggins said. “And whenever he got his chance, he maximized it.”
After losing 159-158 to Houston on Wednesday, the Wizards completely fell apart against the Timberwolves.
Minnesota won the last meeting between the teams on March 9, and this game broke a pattern of alternating wins and losses over 20 meetings that began March 9, 2009.
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