Magic rally, end Timberwolves’ winning streak at 6 games
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves did a lot of living off 3-point shooting doing their six-game winning streak. On Friday night the shots stopped falling and the streak died with it.
“What, our last 10 shots were threes?” center Karl-Anthony Towns asked after the Timberwolves squandered an 18-point lead in a 118-110 loss to the Orlando Magic. “You’ve just got to make them. I don’t know what else to say on that.”
Mo Bamba scored 27 points, and Markelle Fultz and Mo Wagner did most of Orlando’s scoring in a big second-half rally. During a 23-4 run over a stretch of eight minutes, Fultz scored five points and Wagner had the final seven, leaving the Magic with a 107-95 lead with 3:32 left.
Two dunks by Jaden McDaniels helped the Timberwolves cut the lead to one, but Wagner scored again, and Bamba settled it with a 3-pointer and a dunk with 42 seconds left.
Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 25 points. Towns had 21 points and 13 rebounds, but had to play cautiously after being called for three fouls in the first quarter. That helped Orlando to a 49-37 rebound edge.
“Where it hurt us was in our third-quarter defense,” Minnesota coach Chris Finch said. “We weren’t able to be physical when we needed to be.”
Wendell Carter Jr. had 20 points, and Wagner came off the bench with 18 points and six rebounds in just 13 minutes for the Magic.
Two nights after a 132-102 rout of Oklahoma City in which Malik Beasley set a franchise record with 11 3-pointers, the Timberwolves connected on seven of their first nine attempts from behind the arc. But they made only 8 of 36 in the rest of the game.
“We knew they were going to come out and shoot a lot of threes,” said Fultz, who had 14 points and seven assists in his fifth game back after missing 14 months due to a torn ACL. “Our adjustment was just to get ’em off the 3-point line or make tough twos or get to the line with our bigs contesting (shots). I think that was what got us the win.”
The Timberwolves led by 18 points midway through the second quarter, but Cole Anthony and Wagner sparked a 20-7 Orlando spurt to end the first half with Minnesota leading 65-60.
“When you’re up 18 . . . we’ve been very good recently at putting teams away, at not playing with our food. But we left a lot on the table,” Towns said. “They came out hungrier, and I don’t know if we just expected them to lay down and give us the game. But they’re playing really well right now too so they beat us.”
Though they still have the worst record in the Eastern Conference at 18-50, the Magic have won five of their last eight games.
“I think we displayed a level of growth,” said Bamba, who had 12 rebounds and two blocks. “This was like the perfect game to work through to become the team we want to be.”
The Timberwolves opened the second half by making their first four 3-point shots and regained a 12-point lead. But the Magic answered with a 37-point quarter in which they made 14 of 21 shots, including two 3-pointers each by Carter and R.J. Hampton.
Timberwolves: Patrick Beverley, who sat out Wednesday with a sore right ankle, started and was called for his third foul with 7:55 left in the first quarter. He left the game and did not return. . . . Jordan McLaughlin did not play due to right groin tightness. ... Jared Vanderbilt, who sat out Wednesday night because of a left quad contusion, was back in the starting lineup.
Magic: Anthony made a fee throw after a technical foul was called on Jaden McDaniel in the first quarter, but the point was subtracted when it was determined that a double technical had been called, one of them on Carter. . . . The Magic won by 18 points in the first meeting at Minnesota on Nov. 1.
Timberwolves: At Miami on Saturday night.
Magic: Host Philadelphia on Sunday night.