LOS ANGELES — Karl-Anthony Towns scored 18 of his 29 points during Minnesota’s dominant third quarter, and the Timberwolves snapped their six-game losing streak with a 107-83 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
D'Angelo Russell had 22 points against his former team and Patrick Beverley added 11 points and seven rebounds for Minnesota, which seized control while outscoring the Lakers 40-12 in the third. The surge started with a stunning 29-4 run out of halftime, and Russell added 11 points early in the fourth quarter as the underachieving Wolves rolled to their first win since Oct. 27.
“Desperately needed this one,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. “In this situation, the more desperate team usually wins in the NBA on any given night. We’ve been playing well. We just haven’t been playing well often enough. Felt good to watch some shots go in finally.”
“We’re not going to win a championship the way we’re playing,” Davis said. “We have to be better. … We’ve got to decide who we want to be. A championship team? That’s not us right now.”
Russell Westbrook scored 20 points on his 33rd birthday for Los Angeles, which had a solid first half before disintegrating in the third and losing for the fourth time in 11 games. Davis said the Lakers had “no effort in the third quarter.”
The Wolves opened the second half with a 22-3 spurt and held LA without a field goal for nearly eight minutes, abruptly turning a competitive game into a blowout while the Staples Center crowd booed.
“It just shows the type of team we are,” Beverley said. “Very dangerous team. We just haven’t been able to close games out, and we were able to do that tonight.”
Towns led the Wolves’ charge out of halftime, going 6 for 7 with four 3-pointers – and mocking Carmelo Anthony‘s celebratory 3-point head-tap gesture at least twice along the way. Towns said he was determined to rebound from a 6-for-19 shooting performance at Golden State in the Wolves’ last game.
“Anyone who knows me knows this is not just a job to me,” Towns said. “This is my life. When I do that, I give all of myself to this game and to the work. … It’s great to leave here and have food taste different – have it taste really, really good – and have a new outlook and mindset.”
After holding the Lakers to their lowest-scoring quarter of the season in the third, Minnesota stretched its lead to 33 points early in the fourth. Los Angeles shot 11 for 44 and committed 13 turnovers in the second half.
“There’s no better motivator than a bad loss,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I think our guys are angry. Our coaching staff is angry.”
While the injury-plagued Lakers still have a winning record, their rebooted roster has already taken its share of humiliating defeats this season, getting drilled in Portland last week and losing twice to rebuilding Oklahoma City.
Towns got a technical foul in the third quarter for hitting Davis in the groin while driving to the hoop.
Anthony had a season-low three points on 1-of-12 shooting in the 19-year veteran’s first nightmare game for the Lakers. He still gets loud cheers when he steps to the Staples Center scorers’ table to enter the game, but he played a season-low 24 minutes against Minnesota.