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Timberwolves get stars back, take down Thunder

Edwards, Towns and Russell all return for Minnesota.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) pulls down a rebound in front of guard D'Angelo Russell (0) and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski (17) during the first quarter Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Anthony Edwards scored a team-high 22 points on 8-for-17 shooting, and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on for a 98-90 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns scored 17 points and pulled down 16 rebounds in his return from a six-game absence in the league's COVID-19 protocol. D'Angelo Russell returned from a five-game absence in the protocol and finished with six points on 3-for-12 shooting.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 19 points. Rookie Josh Giddey posted a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Aaron Wiggins finished with 11 points.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards brings the ball up court against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second quarter Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports

The Thunder pulled within 85-83 with 4:58 remaining in the fourth quarter. Kenrich Williams made a layup off of an assist from Giddey to close the gap to two points.

The Timberwolves answered with a 7-0 run to make it 92-83 with 2:26 to play. Patrick Beverley made one free throw, Jaylen Nowell made two more, and then Beverley and Nowell traded back-to-back baskets.

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A 3-pointer by Edwards boosted Minnesota's lead to 97-89 with 1:02 to go, and the Timberwolves did not look back from there.

Minnesota led 69-63 at the end of the third quarter. The Timberwolves built a 19-point lead with 4:11 left in the period, but Oklahoma City closed the quarter on a 17-4 run.

Gilgeous-Alexander had two 3-pointers, a pull-up jumper and a pair of free throws during the run.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley reacts to hitting a three-pointer against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first quarter Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, at Target Center in Minneapolis.
Nick Wosika / USA Today Sports

Minnesota raced to a 30-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Timberwolves went on a 14-0 run early in the quarter to transform a 4-4 tie into an 18-4 advantage.

Nowell put the Timberwolves on top by 20 points when he drained a 3-pointer with 1:26 left in the quarter.

Oklahoma City had a 26-19 advantage in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 13. After falling behind 31-10, the Thunder went on a 21-8 run to pull within 39-31 with 4:14 left in the half.

Beverley capped the first-half scoring on a 3-pointer for the Timberwolves with 41.1 seconds to go before the break as the Timberwolves led 49-36 at the half.

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