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Wolves beat Knicks, clinch first winning record since 2005

NEW YORK (AP) Karl-Anthony Towns will finish with a winning record for the first time in his career.

His Minnesota Timberwolves have much bigger goals, and a rough road ahead to achieve them.

''We have a lot more work to do and we have a lot more games in front of us that are just as important as tonight,'' Towns said.

The All-Star center had 24 points and 13 rebounds, and the Timberwolves clinched their first winning record in 13 years by beating the New York Knicks 108-104 on Friday night.

Taj Gibson scored 18 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 17 points and 11 rebounds to help the Wolves improve to 42-31. They came into the night tied with Utah for seventh place in the Western Conference. Nemanja Bjelica also had 17 points.

''I was 110 percent nervous because I knew the stakes,'' Gibson said. ''I knew this was one of those games you really don't want to let go, just knowing how things are going in the standings and knowing there's so many games left to play.''

The Timberwolves hadn't finished with a winning record since going 44-38 in 2004-05, the season after their last playoff appearance. Minnesota is trying to end the NBA's longest current postseason drought.

''We're trying to change things here,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said. ''We have to do it game by game, day by day and not skip over anything.''

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored a career-high 39 points for the Knicks, who have dropped two in a row after winning two straight following a nine-game losing streak. Enes Kanter had 11 points and 15 rebounds.

Minnesota led by as much as 16 and never trailed in the first half, but ended up with a tough time.

The Knicks cut it to nine by halftime, then came back with Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina as the starting backcourt and an unusually strong start to the third quarter that mostly gives them fits.

Hardaway opened it with a 3-pointer a converted a go-ahead three-point play during what became a 15-0 run to open the second half and give New York a 63-57 lead. He scored 19 in the third quarter.

''Just trying to do anything I can to put my team on my back and just carry the young guys out there on the floor,'' Hardaway said. ''I think we did a great job of getting stops defensively and using that to our advantage and pushing the pace.''

Jamal Crawford settled the Wolves down and shot them back into the lead midway through the period, and Minnesota took an 84-82 edge to the fourth.

The Wolves regained control with a 14-5 surge that made it 101-89 on Towns' three-point play, but Hardaway had one last push that cut it to four in the closing minutes.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Derrick Rose didn't travel with the Wolves because of a sprained right ankle. ... Minnesota had lost all three road games against Atlantic Division teams.

Knicks: G Emmanuel Mudiay, acquired from Denver at the trade deadline, started and played the first five minutes, then didn't return. He was scoreless and the Knicks were outscored by eight points while he was in. ... Former Knicks guard Nate Robinson attended the game ... New York has lost eight straight against Washington, its next opponent. The Knicks visit the Wizards on Sunday.

SOFT SPOT

Other than a visit to Philadelphia on Saturday, the Wolves began a soft part of their schedule with Friday's game. The three after Philadelphia are against Memphis, Atlanta and Dallas, who like the Knicks, are all among the worst teams in the league.

PUTTING UP THE POINTS

Hardaway had has fifth 30-point game of the season. He had scored 30 only twice in 281 career games coming this season.

''I think he knows he's got to score some points for us,'' Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said. ''Without (Kristaps Porzingis) out there, not only does KP score points, he draws the attention, and so it opens up for a lot of other guys to get shots off and get some points. So, without that, Tim's got to.''

UP NEXT

Timberwolves: Visit Philadelphia on Saturday.

Knicks: Visit Washington on Sunday.

Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
K. Towns
32 C
E. Kanter
00 C
25.5 Min. Per Game 25.5
14.1 Pts. Per Game 14.1
1.5 Ast. Per Game 1.5
10.9 Reb. Per Game 10.9
55.0 Field Goal % 59.8
54.9 Three Point % 59.8
85.6 Free Throw % 84.7
  Team rebound 0:00
  Frank Ntilikina missed jump shot 0:00
  Defensive rebound by Enes Kanter 0:02
  Nemanja Bjelica missed 2nd of 2 free throws 0:03
  Team rebound 0:03
  Nemanja Bjelica missed 1st of 2 free throws 0:03
  Personal foul on Frank Ntilikina 0:03
+ 3 Trey Burke made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Tim Hardaway Jr. 0:05
+ 1 Jeff Teague made 2nd of 2 free throws 0:10
+ 1 Jeff Teague made 1st of 2 free throws 0:10
  Personal foul on Trey Burke 0:10
Team Stats
Points 108 104
Field Goals 35-75 (46.7%) 40-92 (43.5%)
3-Pointers 10-26 (38.5%) 12-28 (42.9%)
Free Throws 28-32 (87.5%) 12-17 (70.6%)
Total Rebounds 51 50
Offensive 6 10
Defensive 39 32
Team 6 8
Assists 23 25
Steals 6 9
Blocks 6 0
Turnovers 14 10
Fouls 15 27
Technicals 0 0
24 PTS, 13 REB, 3 AST
39 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST
1234T
away team logo Timberwolves 42-31 31262724108
home team logo Knicks 26-47 22263422104
Team Stats
away team logo Timberwolves 42-31 101.6 PPG 45.2 RPG 22.4 APG
home team logo Knicks 26-47 PPG RPG APG
Key Players
K. Towns C 21.3 PPG 12.3 RPG 2.4 APG 54.5 FG%
T. Hardaway Jr. SF 17.5 PPG 3.9 RPG 2.7 APG 42.1 FG%
Top Scorers
K. Towns C 24 PTS 13 REB 3 AST
T. Hardaway Jr. SF 39 PTS 2 REB 3 AST
46.7 FG% 43.5
38.5 3PT FG% 42.9
87.5 FT% 70.6
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Towns 40 24 13 3 1 3 1 5 9/14 2/3 4/5 2 11 46 -5
T. Gibson 38 18 7 1 1 0 0 2 5/8 0/1 8/8 2 5 28 -13
N. Bjelica 37 17 6 2 2 1 1 2 6/8 3/5 2/4 2 4 29 +14
A. Wiggins 37 17 11 2 2 0 4 2 5/15 2/7 5/6 0 11 30 -2
J. Teague 33 10 0 8 0 0 3 2 3/13 0/4 4/4 0 0 23 -14
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
K. Towns 40 24 13 3 1 3 1 5 9/14 2/3 4/5 2 11 46 -5
T. Gibson 38 18 7 1 1 0 0 2 5/8 0/1 8/8 2 5 28 -13
N. Bjelica 37 17 6 2 2 1 1 2 6/8 3/5 2/4 2 4 29 +14
A. Wiggins 37 17 11 2 2 0 4 2 5/15 2/7 5/6 0 11 30 -2
J. Teague 33 10 0 8 0 0 3 2 3/13 0/4 4/4 0 0 23 -14
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
J. Crawford 25 13 1 3 0 0 2 0 5/14 3/6 0/0 0 1 18 +8
T. Jones 14 5 4 4 0 0 1 0 0/0 0/0 5/5 0 4 16 +18
G. Dieng 12 4 3 0 0 2 2 2 2/3 0/0 0/0 0 3 7 +14
A. Brooks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Rose - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Butler - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
C. Aldrich - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Brown - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A. Jefferson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
M. Georges-Hunt - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Patton - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 108 45 23 6 6 14 15 35/75 10/26 28/32 6 39 197 +20
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Hardaway Jr. 36 39 2 3 3 0 2 2 14/25 6/11 5/7 0 2 48 +5
E. Kanter 32 11 15 1 0 0 1 3 4/7 0/0 3/4 5 10 27 +18
M. Beasley 26 8 8 2 0 0 2 4 4/11 0/1 0/0 0 8 18 +6
C. Lee 14 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/5 1/2 0/0 0 1 4 -25
E. Mudiay 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 2 -8
Starters MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Hardaway Jr. 36 39 2 3 3 0 2 2 14/25 6/11 5/7 0 2 48 +5
E. Kanter 32 11 15 1 0 0 1 3 4/7 0/0 3/4 5 10 27 +18
M. Beasley 26 8 8 2 0 0 2 4 4/11 0/1 0/0 0 8 18 +6
C. Lee 14 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 1/5 1/2 0/0 0 1 4 -25
E. Mudiay 4 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0/1 0/0 0/0 0 0 2 -8
Bench MIN PTS REB AST STL BLK TO PF FG 3PT FT OREB DREB FPTS +/-
T. Burke 31 15 2 9 2 0 3 3 6/11 1/2 2/4 0 2 34 +17
F. Ntilikina 37 13 5 3 1 0 1 2 5/12 2/5 1/1 1 4 24 +2
L. Kornet 21 6 2 2 0 0 0 2 2/7 2/5 0/0 0 2 12 -10
K. O'Quinn 15 5 3 2 0 0 1 5 2/6 0/0 1/1 2 1 11 -22
T. Williams 20 4 4 2 3 0 0 4 2/7 0/2 0/0 2 2 15 -3
J. Noah - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
L. Thomas - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I. Hicks - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
K. Porzingis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
R. Baker - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
D. Dotson - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
J. Jack - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Total 236 104 42 25 9 0 10 27 40/92 12/28 12/17 10 32 195 -20