Though they'll be watching the playoffs for the 12th year in a row, the Minnesota Timberwolves just pulled off a stunning win they hope is a prelude to future success.
After playing in a key role in the upset, Karl Anthony-Towns gets his second look at All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins on Thursday night when the visiting Wolves try to sweep the season series from the Sacramento Kings for the first time.
Golden State, which had lost once in its previous 56 home games, led Minnesota by 17 points Tuesday as it tried to become the second team in NBA history to reach 70 wins. The Wolves, however, outscored the Warriors 46-31 in the fourth quarter and overtime for a 124-117 win.
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Shabazz Muhammad led the Wolves (26-52) with a career-high 35 points. He had averaged 6.8 over his previous eight games and scored one in Monday's 88-78 home loss to Dallas.
"You know Bazz, when Bazz gets rolling like that, Bazz don't get tired," interim coach Sam Mitchell told the team's official website.
Andrew Wiggins scored 27 of his 32 points in the second half and OT to become the sixth player in club history to record 10 30-point games in a season. Towns, who finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, has averaged 20.5 and 11.6 while recording 13 straight double-doubles.
The Wolves, who have last year's Rookie of the Year in Wiggins and this year's favorite for the award in Towns, certainly showed glimpses of what they hope is a promising future.
"You want to go out there and win," Towns said. "Every game, you want to go out there and you want to be a very competitive team that goes out there and wins."
He's bracing for what should be an exciting matchup with Cousins, a two-time All-Star averaging a career-high 27.1 points. Cousins returned from a two-game absence Tuesday, scoring 30 in a 115-107 home loss to Portland.
Though he isn't expected to play in any more road games, Cousins should be available for the final two at home against Minnesota and Oklahoma City. In his only meeting with the Wolves this season, he had 24 points and 12 rebounds in a 99-95 road loss Dec. 18.
Towns scored 15 in that contest and was held to seven in a 101-91 road win over the Kings on Nov. 27, but led the way with 26 points and 11 boards in a 113-104 home victory March 23.
Wiggins has averaged 26.5 points in six career meetings with Sacramento (31-47) for his highest mark against any Western Conference opponent.
The Kings have been dominated on the glass with a minus-10.3 rebounding margin in the series. That was also a problem Tuesday when they were outrebounded 49-34 by Portland.
"I think those rebounds caught up to us," said guard Seth Curry, who has scored 18.3 per game while going 9 for 16 from beyond the arc over his last three.
Rajon Rondo matched a career high with his sixth triple-double Tuesday, finishing with a season-high 27 points, 12 assists and 10 boards. The veteran point guard has averaged 17.3 points, 13.7 assists and 5.3 boards in the three meetings with Minnesota.