LOS ANGELES — Jeff Teague contributed a pair of 3-pointers to a game-opening, 15-1 run on Sunday afternoon that paved the way for the host Minnesota Timberwolves to post a 108-86 rout of a Los Angeles Lakers’ squad missing LeBron James.
The win came shortly before head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau was fired, ending his tenure midway through his third season in Minnesota. The team announced the move after the game, with assistant Ryan Saunders being named interim head coach.
Teague finished with 15 points and a game-high 11 assists, while Karl-Anthony Towns added a double-double of his own with 28 points and a game-high 18 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who swept a two-game homestand that began with a win over Orlando on Friday night.
Lance Stephenson came off the bench for 14 points and six assists to lead the Lakers, who lost for the fifth time in six games since James suffered a groin injury in a Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors.
After the Lakers’ Ivica Zubac opened the game with a free throw, the Timberwolves ran off 15 straight points, with Teague (eight) and Andrew Wiggins (five) combining for 13 of them.
Minnesota went on to lead by as many as 21 points in the first quarter and 64-45 at halftime before coasting home for its second win in three meetings with the Lakers this season.
Wiggins matched Towns’ game-high points total with 28, and Taj Gibson had a third double-double for Minnesota with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
The Timberwolves outshot the Lakers 46.1% to 36.8% and outscored them 33-15 on 3-pointers, with Teague and Wiggins each hitting a game-high three.
Brandon Ingram had 13 points for the Lakers, who were tipping off a two-day, two-game trip that concludes Monday night in Dallas.
Michael Beasley (11 points) and Josh Hart (10) also scored in double figures for the Lakers, while Tyson Chandler complemented six points with a team-high 10 rebounds.
BEAL, PORTER LEAD WIZARDS PAST THUNDER
Bradley Beal scored 25 points, including seven in the decisive third quarter, to lead the Washington Wizards to a 116-98 road win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
It was Washington’s first road win since Dec. 5, breaking an eight-game road losing streak. The Wizards had never won in Oklahoma City. Their last road win against the franchise came in March 2008 when Washington picked up a win at Seattle’s Key Arena against the SuperSonics. The next season, the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City.
The Thunder led 58-54 early in the third quarter after scoring the first eight points of the second half. But from there, the Wizards dominated the rest of the third, outscoring the Thunder 36-21 the rest of the way.
Beal and Otto Porter did most of the damage, with Porter scoring eight of his 20 off the bench in the third. Washington’s bench scored 42 points overall.
Porter was 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point line in the win. Jeff Green added 16 for Washington, while Tomas Satoransky scored 15. It was the third time in four games Satoransky scored 14 or more points. He’d done it just once before this season.
The Wizards extended their lead to as much as 23 early in the fourth quarter before the Thunder briefly cut the lead to as little as 15.
A big reason for Washington’s win was its success on the offensive glass. The Wizards entered the game as the third-worst offensive rebounding team in the NBA but came up with 16 in the win, one off their team high for the year.
Washington outrebounded the Thunder overall 55-41.
The Wizards also protected the ball well, turning it over just nine times, only the third time this season they’ve turned the ball over fewer than 10 times.
Russell Westbrook finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists, earning his 12th triple-double of the season and his third in the last four games by the time the third quarter ended.
Paul George added 20 and Jerami Grant 17 as the Thunder had their three-game winning streak snapped.
WALKER’S LATE FLURRY LIFTS HORNETS PAST SUNS
Kemba Walker scored 29 points, including 18 in the final 4:26, and the visiting Charlotte Hornets snapped a two-game losing streak with a 119-113 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.
Walker scored 18 of the last 19 points scored by the Hornets, who didn’t take the lead for good until a free throw by Walker with 1:00 remaining gave them a 112-111 edge. Walker then also hit a clutch jumper with 21.7 seconds remaining to up the lead to 114-111.
The Hornets avoided matching their longest losing streak this season.
Tony Parker and Willy Hernangomez came off the bench to spark the Hornets, with Parker scoring 20 and Hernangomez adding 19 points and nine rebounds. The Hornets also got 16 points from Marvin Williams.
They were without Cody Zeller and Jeremy Lamb due to injuries.
The Suns lost their sixth straight, all at home to start a seven-game homestand.
T. J. Warren led the Suns with 23 points. Josh Jackson scored 22, Deandre Ayton 19 and Jamal Crawford 16. Crawford and Warren both missed jumpers in the final minute that turned out to be pivotal.
The Suns played the second half without leading scorer, Devin Booker. The guard left the game early in the second quarter because of back spasms, and he watched the final period in street clothes. He finished with seven points in 12 minutes.
Phoenix led 30-29 after one quarter and 60-57 at halftime. The Hornets were on top 85-81 after three quarters. The Hornets seemed to be in control when they went on an 8-0 run midway through the fourth, but this one was destined to go to the final minute.
The Suns conclude their homestand with a visit from the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday. The Hornets will face the Clippers in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the third stop on a six-game road trip. — Reuters