MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague gave the necessary impetus to the beleaguered backyard and propelled the Minnesota Timberwolves to victory.
Rose scored 22 points and Teague added 19 points and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, who played without the sick Andrew Wiggins but beat the Los Angeles Clippers 130-120 on Monday night. Rose and Teague have recently lost a lot of time with injuries.
"We are veterans," Rose said. "I think we know how to evaluate a game a bit. Play at the same time, and I think it will work. "
Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, while Dario Saric was 19.
Lou Williams scored 45 points on the bench of the Clippers, a peak in the season.
"It's hard to digest that when you lose a game," said Williams. "Great plan of things, when it comes to career, it's pretty cool."
Showzl Harrell added 18 points to the bench for Los Angeles, part of a 89-point effort from the reserves. The Clippers came in top of the league on a bench with 51.6 points per game.
Minnesota had lost all four previous games and six of its previous seven with leader injuries. Monday night, the Timberwolves had Rose and Teague on the field at the same time for the first time since January 20 against the Phoenix Suns.
"We are obviously not happy with a win, but it's hard to win in this league," Saunders said.
Teague returned to training Friday in New Orleans. He had missed the previous eight games with a left foot pain. Rose played Monday after missing six of the previous seven games due to a pain in her right ankle.
The Timberwolves played nine games without having both Teague and Rose.
"It felt good," Rose said. "I was just trying to read the situation, take my time and be patient while I was out."
Neither team has more than eight points in the first period. The Timberwolves closed the half on a 10-2 run to take a 63-55 lead in the locker room. Rose scored 12 of 22 points in the first half, including a tough double just before half-time. Teague scored nine of her 19 points in the first period.
"Two guys who can handle the ball and make games," Teague said. "He is a great player. He can access the rack at any time. Having another guy who is special with this basketball like that makes my job so much easier. "
Minnesota then scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to open a two-digit lead. The Timberwolves would lead by 23 points. They resisted a Clippers team that scored 20 points or more on the road three times this month.
"We were awful on the defense side," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. "The game was 48 minutes of simple mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes.
Saunders enrolled Saric in the starting lineup on Monday. His debut was at the expense of veteran striker Taj Gibson, who voluntarily took office on the reserve. Saunders and Saric praised all hopes of Gibson, who scored 14 points on the bench while playing both front and center.
"Fortunately for me, I have a guy like Taj Gibson on my team," Saunders said. "I can not say enough about him. I brought him the idea. It was actually yesterday. And he was all for. This shows his professionalism in the fact that he has 14 points on the bench, playing both 4 and 5. You can not say enough about him. "
Clippers: The 89 benchmarks have been the NBA's biggest since the Kansas City Kings scored 90 goals against the Chicago Bulls on December 1, 1982. Williams scored 11 points, a top in the team, in the first period and scored only one goal. His first nine points came from the free throw line, where he had 9 points. Rivers remains a close friend of former Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, who was fired on Jan. 6. "We talk a lot," said Rivers. "I tried to convince him today to get the scouting report, but he would not give it to me." … Los Angeles currently has a 12-day journey in six games over 6,659 miles. This is the fifth longest car trip of the NBA this season. … F Wilson Chandler (Straight Quad Strain) and F Luc Mbah a Moute (Painful Left Knee) were dismissed.
Timberwolves: Luol Deng started in Wiggins' place and scored 12 points in 37 minutes and 50 seconds, the team's highest score. This is Deng's first game since October 19, 2017, the first game of last season, when he was a member of the Lakers. It was his only appearance of the season. … The Timberwolves were still without Robert Covington (right knee bruise) and G Tyus Jones (sprained left ankle). … G Isaiah Canaan signed a second 10-day contract on Sunday.
Clippers: Welcome Phoenix Wednesday.
Timberwolves: Welcomes Houston Wednesday.