MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards had 33 points and 14 rebounds and led Minnesota’s 3-point barrage in the second half, as the Timberwolves beat Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat 113-101 on Wednesday for their fifth straight victory.
Malik Beasley scored a season-high 29 points off the bench and D’Angelo Russell added 20 for the Timberwolves, who launched a franchise-record 55 attempts from behind the arc and made 18. Edwards (six), Beasley (five) and Russell (four) did the most damage. The Wolves, who closed the game on an 11-2 run, went 11 for 27 from 3-point range after halftime.
Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 18 points, and Butler had a quiet 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists against his former team while booed often by the most engaged crowd of the season at Target Center. Duncan Robinson added 17 points and super sub Tyler Herro had 16 points on 5-for-18 shooting after scoring 31 points the night before in a win at Detroit.
Karl-Anthony Towns had first-quarter foul trouble and finished with 11 points and six rebounds, but Jarred Vanderbilt picked up the slack inside with a career-high 15 rebounds to go with eight points.
Edwards thrives in higher-intensity games like these, and he was the driving force in the second-half surge by the Wolves. His one-handed dunk off a backdoor cut posterized Gabe Vincent early in the fourth quarter, only to have it wiped out by an offensive foul.
The Heat immediately went on a 7-0 run to take back the lead, but Russell put the Wolves back in front for good at 91-89 with a 3-pointer at the 9-minute mark.
Butler was the one trying to lock Edwards down on defense. He swiped the ball out of Edwards’ arms after a whistle at one point. Edwards reacted by pushing Butler in the back. Then Butler whirled around and got in Edwards’ face, before they were separated.
Butler and Towns didn’t exactly mesh well here, with the fiery Butler requesting a trade after only one year and playing 10 awkward games in his second season before being dealt to Philadelphia.
They did make the playoffs together in 2018, though, the only such appearance for the woebegone Wolves in the last 17 years.
The Wolves have a prime opportunity to return to the postseason with this team, particularly with two extra spots in the new play-in format, but their worthiness will get a stiff test over the holidays. Starting with Miami, only three of their next 20 opponents had a losing record entering Wednesday. They play the Los Angeles Lakers in two of those three games against under-the-.500-mark foes, on Dec. 17 and Jan. 2. Indiana is the only one currently below the cut for the playoffs.
The Heat, with Butler at the center of their defensive effort, took the second-best scoring average (101.8) allowance in the NBA into the game.
Towns watched all but five minutes of the first half from the bench after drawing three fouls, and the Wolves were down two starters by midway through the first quarter when Patrick Beverley hurt his left groin and did not return.
The Wolves were frustrated by some of the calls, and Towns at one point waved his arms to encourage the crowd during a derogatory chant toward the officials. Their offense bogged down as the Heat went on a 27-12 run in the second quarter, until Edwards got it going again after halftime.
The whistles went the other way, too, as Kyle Lowry picked up his fourth and fifth fouls 15 seconds apart early in the third quarter followed by a technical for mouthing off about the last one.
Heat: Adebayo, who was shooting a career-best 82.1% from the free throw line entering the game, went 4 for 11. … Robinson went 5 for 15 from 3-point range, extending his franchise-record streak to 67 straight games with at least one make from deep. … Markieff Morris missed his ninth straight game with what the team has called whiplash following a dustup with Denver star Nikola Jokic.
Timberwolves: Edwards had four 30-plus-point games as a rookie and one earlier this season, his career-best 48 points at Golden State on Nov. 10. … Vanderbilt had his fourth straight double-digit rebound game. … Josh Okogie (back) was on the active list but sat out for the fifth straight game.
Heat: at Chicago on Saturday.
Timberwolves: at Charlotte on Friday.