Karl-Anthony Towns comes alive in second half to carry Timberwolves past Dallas in Game 4, keep season alive

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DALLAS — Much maligned this series as he struggled to hit shots or impact the game, Karl-Anthony Towns saved his best to make sure Tuesday wasn’t Minnesota’s last.

The big man scored 20 of his 27 points in the second half despite foul trouble to lift the Timberwolves to a 105-100 victory in Game 4.

The Wolves trail the best-of-7 series three games to one, but live to die another day. Game 5 is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Target Center.

The season survives on the shoulders of Towns.

“HIs struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going,” Wolves coach Chris Finch said. “Just let him roll and he played smart, played under control, rebounded really well for us. … I’m really proud of him. He’s been a huge part of every series thus far and we knew we had to get him into this series.”

He hit a number of key, tough triples in the second half, the biggest of which came with just south of three minutes to play, as the Wolves’ offense devolved into a lot of Anthony Edwards’ dribbling. Edwards had dribbled out the shot clock, and had no where to go with the ball.

He found Towns in the corner, who hit the contested shot to put Minnesota up six with 2 minutes, 54 seconds to play.

Dallas — who’s been lethal in late-game situations in this series, didn’t feature the same shot making Tuesday. Kyrie Irving struggled from the field, going 6 for 18. Luka Doncic had 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists, but did so on 7 for 21 shooting. Minnesota shifted matchups for Game 4 — moving Edwards onto Doncic and Jaden McDaniels onto Kyrie Irving.

Maybe that made life more difficult for Dallas’ star duo. The Wolves will hope it’s a solution they can ride for the remainder of the series.

“We’re down 3-0, just shuffling the deck,” Finch said.

It came up as a flush.

DALLAS, TEXAS – MAY 28: Daniel Gafford #21 of the Dallas Mavericks dunks the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the fourth quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals at American Airlines Center on May 28, 2024 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

The game was knotted 49-49 at half, and Dallas appeared to find a glitch in Minnesota’s defense, screening Gobert off pick and rolls, giving itself easy layups.

But whenever Dallas’ easy offense appeared ready to give the Mavericks a cushion, Towns would hit another shot. That was until the big man picked up his fifth foul in the third quarter and the Wolves had to sit him amid the all-star’s offensive burst.

Still, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch showed some trust subbing the big man back in with 10 minutes to play. And Towns paid the decision off handsomely, scoring another 10 in the quarter.

For the first time all series, Minnesota’s two all-stars out-shot Dallas’ star tandem, and that proved to be the difference.

Edwards struggled with some decision making down the stretch, but he came through in perhaps the biggest spot — nailing a jumper from 20 feet as the shot clock expired to put Minnesota up by five with 38 seconds to play.

Dallas still made it interesting, as Doncic hit a three while being fouled with 12 seconds to play. But Doncic missed the free-throw to allow Minnesota to stay up three. The Wolves found a streaking Naz Reid for a layup on the ensuing in bounds to put the game on ice.

That was the type of execution Minnesota needed down the stretch of Games 1 through 3. But, with their backs against the wall, the Wolves pulled Game 4 out with their defense. That will be what Minnesota needs to ride to the finish line if its to be the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-0 deficit.

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