Saunders wins 1st game, T'Wolves top Thunder 119-117
By Cliff Brunt
AP Sports Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Andrew Wiggins had a season-high 40 points and 10 rebounds, and the Timberwolves beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-117 on Tuesday night in Ryan Saunders’ first game as Minnesota’s interim coach.
Saunders, just 32 years old, is the son of former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders. The team fired Tom Thibodeau on Sunday.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 points and Dario Saric added 15 for the Timberwolves.
Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook missed two 3-pointers in the closing seconds that would have given the Thunder the lead. He finished with 25 points and 16 assists.
Paul George scored 27 points and Steven Adams added 20 points and 12 rebounds for Oklahoma City.
Thunder reserve center Nerlens Noel was taken off the court on a stretcher in the third quarter after Wiggins made contact with him on a dunk attempt.
Noel took an elbow in the face as Wiggins went up, and Noel hit the ground hard. A defensive foul was called on Noel. The play was reviewed, and no additional fouls were called. Noel was down for several minutes before being taken away from the court. There was no immediate word on Noel’s condition.
In the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City guard Dennis Schroder somehow won a jump ball with Towns, and Westbrook hit a 3-pointer to give the Thunder a 111-110 lead.
Josh Okogie’s corner 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left put the Timberwolves up 119-115.
Westbrook made two free throws, then Minnesota’s Tyus Jones traveled with 15.5 seconds left to give the Thunder a chance.
Thunder: G Alex Abrines missed his fifth consecutive game for personal reasons. … Schroder was listed as questionable with a left quad contusion, but he entered the game in the first quarter.
Timberwolves: G Derrick Rose missed his sixth straight game with a sprained right ankle. … F Robert Covington missed his fourth straight game with a bruised right knee. … Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague was ejected in the third quarter after a skirmish with Schroder.
Timberwolves: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
Thunder: At the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.
NUGGETS 103, HEAT 99
MIAMI (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double of the season, and his basket with 2.4 seconds left put the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets ahead to stay in their 103-99 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.
Jamal Murray had 18 points, Trey Lyles added 15, Paul Millsap had 12 and Torrey Craig finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds for the Nuggets.
It was the 20th career triple-double for Jokic. He also became the second center to post one against the Heat, joining Vlade Divac — who did it for the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 8, 1995, exactly 24 years prior to Jokic.
Dion Waiters returned to the lineup and scored 15 points for Miami, which got 13 apiece from Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk, and 12 each from Hassan Whiteside, Josh Richardson and Justise Winslow.
TORONTO (AP) — Serge Ibaka scored the winning basket with 17 seconds remaining and Toronto won its sixth straight home game.
Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points, Pascal Siakam had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Kyle Lowry scored 16 points as the Raptors earned their sixth consecutive win over the Hawks.
OG Anunoby scored 14 points and Ibaka had 13.
John Collins had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Jeremy Lin scored 20 points and Trae Young added 19 for the Hawks, who have lost four of five.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Thaddeus Young scored 26 points, Bojan Bogdanovic had 23 and Indiana held off Cleveland’s comeback bid and handed the Cavaliers their 10th straight loss.
Cleveland has the worst record in the league at 8-33. The Cavaliers suffered another injury when forward Larry Nance hurt his right knee in the first quarter and didn’t return.
Victor Oladipo had 17 points and Domantas Sabonis had 15 for the Pacers, who have won seven of eight.
Jordan Clarkson scored 26 points for Cleveland. Alec Burks scored 19 points, Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 13 rebounds and rookie point guard Collin Sexton scored 14.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Rookie Landry Shamet made eight 3-pointers and scored 29 points, both career-highs, and Joel Embiid had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Philadelphia to a rout of Washington.
Jimmy Butler added 20 points and Ben Simmons had 19 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the 76ers, who won their fourth straight and seventh of nine.
Bradley Beal scored 28 points for the Wizards.
Philadelphia improved to an NBA-best 18-3 at home.
SUNS 115, KINGS 111
PHOENIX (AP) — Kelly Oubre Jr. matched his career high with 26 points, including a one-handed rebound jam with 11.1 seconds to play, and Phoenix snapped a six-game losing streak by rallying from a 21-point deficit to beat turnover-prone Sacramento.
Oubre, obtained in the trade that sent Trevor Ariza to Washington on Dec. 17, matched the 26 points he scored for the Wizards against Detroit on Jan. 19 of last year.
T.J. Warren added 21 points and Deandre Ayton had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who were without leading scorer Devin Booker due to back spasms.
De’Aaron Fox scored 24 and Ben McLemore 20 for the Kings, who committed a season-high 26 turnovers, 18 in the second half. Sacramento lost for the fifth time in six games.