SACRAMENTO (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 17 rebounds, and the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled away in the second half to beat the Sacramento Kings 118-100 on Monday night.
Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points, Jeff Teague added 20 points and Taj Gibson had 15 points to help the Timberwolves sweep the three-game season series between the two teams.
More importantly, Minnesota improved to 2-0 since losing Jimmy Butler to a torn right meniscus last week heading into one of its toughest stretches of the season.
Coach Tom Thibodeau’s team, which began the day in third place in the West and is off to the fourth-best start in franchise history, plays its next eight games against teams with winning records beginning with back-to-backs at Portland and Utah.
The Timberwolves scored only 21 points in the fourth quarter but it hardly mattered after they outscored the Kings 34-17 in the third to pull away after a back-and-forth first half.
Minnesota also held a big advantage on free throws, going 33 of 36 from the stripe.
Towns took one shot in the first quarter before finding his stroke in the second when he scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. He had four free throws during that stretch and finished 8-of-8 from the stripe.
Skal Labissiere scored 20 points, Willie Cauley-Stein added 17 and Buddy Hield had 16 for Sacramento, The Kings have lost four straight and six of seven.
Towns was one rebound shy of a double-double in the first half and Minnesota led by as much as 10 before De’Aaron Fox capped a late Sacramento surge with a layup to pull the Kings within 63-60 at halftime.
Teague and Wiggins combined for 15 points in the third quarter and Tyus Jones made two free throws and a short jumper to extend the Timberwolves lead to 97-77.
Timberwolves: Towns’ double-double is the 168th of his career. ... Minnesota went 14-for-14 from the free throw line in the first half.
Kings: Bruno Cabocio had four points, three rebounds and three fouls in 18 minutes of his Sacramento debut. Cabocio was part of the trade that sent Malachi Richardson to Toronto.
Timberwolves: Play at Portland on Thursday.
Kings: Play at Portland on Tuesday.