Kurt Helin

Karl-Anthony Towns, Ricky Rubio lead Timberwolves over Mavericks, 101-92

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Karl-Anthony Towns had 34 points and 11 rebounds, Ricky Rubio added 13 points and a season-high 15 assists, and the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a four-game losing streak with a 101-92 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

Harrison Barnes scored 30 points for the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki had 26, including five 3-pointers.

Towns hit 15 of 19 shots from the floor as the Timberwolves shot 56.3 percent.

Rubio scored nine points in the fourth quarter, including consecutive baskets during an 8-0 run that gave the Timberwolves some breathing room after Dallas had whittled a 21-point lead to 81-77.

He hit three free throws with 2:08 to play to give Minnesota a 97-83 advantage.

Towns got the Wolves off to a fast start, scoring Minnesota’s first seven points and 16 total in the first seven minutes. He finished with 20 in the period as the Timberwolves took a 33-14 lead after one quarter. The Wolves shot 65 percent from the field in the quarter.

They stretched the lead to 44-23 before the Mavericks responded with a 15-2 run to get back in the game. Nowitzki hit 3-pointers on three straight possessions to close the first half as Dallas pulled to 54-46 at the break.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Dallas had won seven straight against the Timberwolves, including four in a row at Target Center. This was the first meeting of the season between the Midwest Division foes. . Nowitzki topped his previous season high of four 3-pointers. The last time he had six in a game was April 1, 2014. . Andrew Bogut missed the fourth quarter with an injured hamstring.

Timberwolves: Towns scored 20 points in a quarter for the second time in his career. He had 22 in the first quarter against New York on Nov. 30. . Zach LaVine left early in the fourth with a bruised left hip and did not return. Lavine grabbed Devon Harris to get called for a foul, then limped off the court and into the Minnesota locker room. He was replaced by Tyus Jones. . Shabazz Muhammad scored in double figures off the bench for the sixth time in his last eight games, finishing with 11 points in 20-plus minutes.

UP NEXT

Mavericks: Dallas plays the Phoenix Suns on Thursday in Mexico City.

Timberwolves: Minnesota hosts the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Russell Westbrook, Thunder cruise past Bulls 109-94

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CHICAGO (AP) — Even Russell Westbrook was impressed with the passing by Oklahoma City’s big men.

Westbrook flirted with another triple-double and Steven Adams led a dominant effort in the paint, helping the Thunder pull away from the Chicago Bulls for an easy 109-94 victory Monday night.

Westbrook had 21 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds, falling just short of his 18th triple-double of the season. But his all-around performance is practically a sure thing these days.

It was the inside play of Adams and Enes Kanter that really hurt Chicago, with the big men scoring with ease or passing out of double-teams to set up their teammates.

“They do a great job of playing off each other,” Westbrook said.

Adams had 22 points on 11-for-14 shooting, and Kanter finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The duo helped the Thunder to 56.6 percent shooting from the field, a 60-36 advantage on points in the paint and a 42-38 edge in rebounding.

“I thought tonight, on both ends of the floor, we played at a high level,” coach Billy Donovan said.

Dwyane Wade led Chicago with 22 points, and Michael Carter-Williams had 15. Cristiano Felicio finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

The Bulls had won three in a row and five of seven, but they were no match for the Thunder with Jimmy Butler hampered by an illness. The reigning Eastern Conference player of the week had one point on 0-for-6 shooting and seven assists.

“I appreciate him coming out and giving it a shot. That says a lot about him, as a competitor, but he was really struggling, obviously,” coach Fred Hoiberg said.

Butler was sent home after he left the game in the third quarter, and Hoiberg said Butler will not play Tuesday night against Washington. Wade, who turns 35 on Jan. 17, also will rest against the Wizards.

“Jimmy can’t put up 50 every night. We have to do better. We have to support him a lot better,” Bulls forward Taj Gibson said.

Gibson’s three-point play off a slick pass from Wade got Chicago within 10 with 6:51 left in the third, but Westbrook helped the Thunder put it away from there.

The dynamic point guard threw an alley-oop to Adams and then found the center for a layup. Westbrook set up Andre Roberson for a 3-pointer and a cutting dunk. Kanter added a driving layup with 54 seconds left, helping Oklahoma City to an 89-67 lead after three.

GRANT VS GRANT

Brothers Jerami and Jerian Grant faced off. Jerian Grant had 11 points in 21 minutes for the Bulls. Jerami Grant played 16 minutes for the Thunder and finished with seven points.

“Whenever I get to play against him, it’s great to see him,” Jerami Grant said.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Victor Oladipo scored 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting. … G Cameron Payne played almost 15 minutes in his second game of the season after being sidelined by a right foot injury. … The Thunder had lost four straight road games.

Bulls: G Rajon Rondo did not play on his bobblehead night. The veteran guard hasn’t played since Dec. 30 against Indiana, and it’s unclear when or if he will return to Hoiberg’s rotation. … Rookie G Denzel Valentine missed his third straight game with an ankle injury.

 

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

Joakim Noah says he spoke to Derrick Rose, he’s okay. Rose reportedly has spoken to team

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There aren’t a lot of details, yet.

Derrick Rose didn’t show up for the Knicks game against the Pelicans Monday night at Madison Square Garden, and team officials were not sure why. He had been at shootaround but didn’t show up for the game.

Why? That’s not exactly clear. What we do know from Joakim Noah is that he’s okay, as reported by Ian Begley at ESPN.

“I mean, I don’t really want to talk too much about it because I don’t really know what the situation is,” said Noah, who has played with Rose since 2008 as teammates in Chicago before coming to New York. “Obviously Derrick is one of our better players. And when he is not here it is tough. But I am just happy that everything is OK with him.”

When asked if Rose’s health is OK in light of his mysterious absence, Noah replied, “Yeah. He’s OK … I think it’s a relief for all of us.”

That’s good news. Coach Jeff Hornacek added this.

“Everything will become clear later on,” Hornacek said. “You know, we want to respect whatever he’s going through. We’re just not going to comment on it.”

The next question is where is he and why did he miss the game? In the absence of real information, there has been talk of Rose’s frustration with his role in the offense. There was talk of him having words with Hornacek. Here is the most solid information we have, via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

There’s a lot more we don’t know. This is the Knicks, which means this story is going to drag out for a while, and likely not be simple.

Carmelo Anthony gets ejected for arguing calls (VIDEO)

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This feels like the scene in “Bull Durham” where Crash Davis uses the magic phrase that he knows will get him ejected from the game.

The New York Knicks, playing without AWOL Derrick Rose, were down 19 to the New Orleans Pelicans — in Madison Square Garden — when Anthony decided to argue a non-call with the referee. He was not demonstrative, nor in the officials’ face, so he must have used some magical words — and I don’t mean from Harry Potter books — to get tossed.

The Knicks ended up losing by 14. This team has some issues.

Derrick Rose not at Knicks/Pelicans game, some with team reportedly don’t know why, where he is

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This is both potentially concerning, and very New York Knicks.

Derrick Rose is not with the New York Knicks as they take on the Pelicans at Madison Square Garden, and it doesn’t seem clear where he is. He had been at shootaround earlier that morning. The first sense of something odd was this:

Then Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports dropped this bomb:

We hope this is not something actually serious or wrong with Rose or his family.

But pouting over a benching seems plausible.  Rose has been better this season than he has been the last couple, but that should not be confused with him being good again. Jared Dubin put it very well, he’s useful but not helpful at this point in his career. Which is to say, his benching against the Bucks because the undrafted Ron Baker was playing better was justified (the Knicks came from behind in the fourth to win with him sitting).

The Knicks seemed out of sorts on the court Monday night and were getting blown out in the third quarter by New Orleans, and then to make matters worse Carmelo Anthony was ejected.

The New York Knicks should steal the old TNT slogan: “We Know Drama.” Doesn’t matter the year or the players, it’s always something with this team. A team that was 1.5 games out of the playoffs in the East going into tonight — Phil Jackson didn’t bring in Rose and Joakim Noah to go with Carmelo Anthony this summer to build for the future around Kristaps Porzingis, he wanted to win now. But alas….