MINNEAPOLIS – Anthony Edwards set a career high with 49 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 21 points and 13 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves hung on for a 127-121 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
Edwards’ big output came on 16-of-28 shooting and 6 of 14 from 3-point range. He found multiple ways to score, including a highlight-reel dunk and a game-high 11 free throws. He added eight rebounds and six assists, too.
With the ball in his hands late in the game and a chance at 50 points, Wolves fans rose to their feet as Edwards shot from deep. He missed four times from long range in the final minutes but made two free throws with 9.1 seconds remaining to finish with 49.
“That's love,” Edwards said of the fans. “I appreciate that, for sure.”
Keldon Johnson had 20 points and Devin Vassell scored 18 for San Antonio. Eight players reached double figures for the Spurs.
It was Edwards who gave the Wolves a spark early, scoring 15 of Minnesota’s 30 first-quarter points. But the second-year guard took over in the second half, making big shot after big shot to fend off the Spurs.
“He came out with great determination,” said Timberwolves coach Chris Finch. “Everything was aggressive and sharp and quick.”
With Denver's victory over Memphis on Thursday night, Minnesota is assured a play-in game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday at Target Center.
It was the fifth 40-point game of Edwards' young career. The Timberwolves hope Edwards — who missed time in early March with a knee injury — continues to click as they head toward the postseason.
“This is just more than a win, man. He had a night that's unforgettable,” Towns said. “He's been struggling recently, but he just kept working and kept working, kept grinding, kept working in the gym, kept believing in himself. He came out and played an amazing game."
Minnesota (46-35) led by 18 in the third quarter but let it slip to seven before Edwards hit another shot from deep to stop a run by San Antonio (34-46). Edwards remained a calming presence as Towns’ frustration grew in the third and ultimately resulted in a technical foul.
The last time these teams played, Towns set a team record with 60 points. Edwards scored just five in that game.
Edwards connected from deep in the closing seconds of the third, giving Minnesota a 15-point advantage entering the fourth.
“I think he was the No. 1 pick in the draft, so that would indicate there’s something there,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "He’s a hell of a player.”
Malik Beasley got hot from long range in the third period for Minnesota. Beasley hit three 3-pointers after being held to two points in the first half, helping the Wolves build an 18-point lead.
Minnesota guard D’Angelo Russell did not play. Russell was sidelined with bilateral hamstring soreness after scoring 17 points and adding 11 assists in Tuesday’s loss to Washington.
Spurs: San Antonio was without leading scorer Dejounte Murray, who missed his fourth straight game with an illness. Murray leads the Spurs with 21.2 points per game.
Timberwolves: Minnesota signed C Greg Monroe for the rest of the season. Monroe has played in 12 games for four NBA teams this season, including three with the Timberwolves in December. He’s averaged 5.2 points and 4.7 rebounds this season.
Spurs: Host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday before Sunday’s regular-season finale at Dallas.
Timberwolves: Finish the regular season Sunday at home against Chicago.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports