Karl-Anthony Towns of the Wolves

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136 points is a lot, but still not enough for Wolves to avoid loss

Dallas survives high-octane night in Texas

October 21, 2018 - 7:39 am

   DALLAS (AP) - Derrick Rose and Karl-Anthony Towns combined for 59 points, but the Timberwolves were still on the short end in a 140-136 loss Saturday night at Dallas.

   Luka  Doncic scored 26 points and Dennis Smith converted a tiebreaking three-point play with six seconds left to drop the Wolves to 1-2 to start the NBA season.

   The Timberwolves didn't seem to miss Jimmy Butler much after letting the disgruntled guard stay home to rest a night after he scored a team-high 33 points in their first win. Minnesota matched the most points Dallas has given up in a first quarter while taking a 46-37 lead.

   But a 15-point Minnesota lead in the first quarter was gone before halftime in a game with nine lead changes in the second half. And the Mavericks mostly canceled out the Wolves' big first quarter with 43 points in the fourth.

   A 19-year-old who is the second-youngest ever to play for the Mavericks, Doncic kept Dallas ahead in the closing minutes by twice backing down for baskets over Rose, who had 28 points in his highest-scoring game since late in the 2016-17 season.

   After Towns hit an off-balance 3 on his way to 31 points to help the Timberwolves get close and Taj Gibson made a jump-hook in the lane to pull them even with 27 seconds left, Smith made Rose the defensive victim again.

   Smith - a 20-year-old and the third-youngest to play for the Mavericks after making his debut as a teenager this time last year - hit a jumper just inside the 3-point line over Rose and drew the foul. The free throw put the Mavericks up 137-134.

   Smith scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, including the last six for Dallas.

   "We just have to play defense," Rose said. "It seemed like everyone I was covering tonight made a tough shot on me and I just have to do a better job of contesting shots."

   Doncic, the No. 3 overall pick and second-youngest to play in a game for the Mavericks, bounced back from a slow start and finished 8 of 16 from the field and 4 of 9 from 3-point range two nights after a fairly rough NBA debut in a loss at Phoenix.

   With 40-year-old fellow European Dirk Nowitzki watching from the bench in a light blue suit while dealing with an ankle issue, Doncic missed his first three shots and quickly committed two of his game-high six turnovers.

   But Doncic sparked a flurry of 15 points in the final 6:41 of the second quarter with a floater that drew a foul, although he missed the free throw. He poked away a loose ball and hit a second straight 3-pointer to give the Mavericks their first tie at 54-all.

   The Mavericks took their first lead at 62-61 in the second quarter on Jordan's layup on an alley-oop pass from J.J. Barea, who finished with 11 assists.

   TEXAS TWO-STEP

   The Timberwolves had to make two trips to Texas in a three-day span, part of the reason for sitting Butler so early. They opened with a loss at San Antonio before beating Cleveland on Friday night. "It was a tough turnaround for us," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You get in late and you have to come with energy. I liked the energy to start the game."

   TIP-INS

   The Timberwolves shot 63 percent while building their first-quarter lead. ... Jeff Teague had 22 points and a team-high nine assists. ... Andrew Wiggins scored 19 before fouling out in the final seconds.

   UP NEXT

   The Wolves host Indiana on Monday.