Karl-Anthony Towns made a tiebreaking — and controversial — free throw with a half-second remaining in overtime Friday night, giving the Minnesota Timberwolves a 131-130 victory that dropped the visiting Golden State Warriors into a tie for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Mar 29, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) drives to the basket past Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) in the second half at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Durant fouled Towns as he was breaking for the basket on an inbounds play. Durant was called for a pushing foul near the hoop even though the pass appeared to be over both players’ heads.
Towns made the first of two free throws before missing the second intentionally, which allowed time to run out. The Golden State defeat allowed Denver, which won earlier in the night at Oklahoma City, to draw even with the Warriors for the top spot in the West at 51-24 with seven games remaining.
The controversial finish followed another potential game-determining call with 5.8 seconds remaining in the extra session and Golden State trailing by three, when officials waved off a 3-pointer Durant made while a foul was being called because they said the foul had occurred in the instant before the shot.
Nuggets 115, Thunder 105
Jamal Murray scored 27 points to lead visiting Denver past Oklahoma City and into a tie for first in the Western Conference with seven games remaining. The loss drops the Thunder to eighth place.
Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 16 rebounds for the Nuggets, who shot 56.5 percent from the floor. It was Denver’s third-best shooting performance of the season. Paul Millsap (14 points), Will Barton (12) and Mason Plumlee (11) also scored in double figures for the Nuggets.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, narrowly missing what would’ve been his second consecutive triple-double. Paul George, who was a game-time decision due to left shoulder soreness, scored 25 points and also grabbed nine rebounds.
Celtics 114, Pacers 112
Kyrie Irving made the go-ahead layup with 0.5 seconds remaining in the game as host Boston edged Indiana and moved into a tie with the Pacers for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Indiana’s Thaddeus Young completed an alley-oop to forge a tie at 112 before missing a driving layup on the next possession. Young redeemed himself with a steal, but Boston made a defensive stop and Irving gained a step on Wesley Matthews and made a ball fake on Young before converting the layup.
Irving scored 20 of his 30 points in the second half and Al Horford added 19 for the Celtics, who pulled even in the standings with Indiana after winning back-to-back contests on the heels of a season-high-tying, four-game losing streak.
Trail Blazers 118, Hawks 98
Damian Lillard scored 23 of his 36 points in the first half to help Portland win its sixth straight, a blowout at Atlanta.
Lillard shot 13-for-25 from the field, sank four 3-pointers and handed out seven assists.
Atlanta was led by Trae Young, who scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half but was just 1-for-8 from 3-point range. John Collins added 20 points for the Hawks.
Jazz 128, Wizards 124
Donovan Mitchell scored 35 points to lead Utah to a victory over Washington in Salt Lake City.
Joe Ingles added 18 points and 10 assists, and Rudy Gobert finished with 13 points and 17 rebounds for the Jazz. Jae Crowder added 18 points and Ricky Rubio chipped in 17. Utah shot 55.2 percent from the field to win for the ninth time in 10 games.
Bradley Beal scored 34 points while Bobby Portis added 28 points and 13 rebounds to lead Washington.
Lakers 129, Hornets 115
LeBron James had 27 points and nine assists as Los Angeles prevented visiting Charlotte from moving closer to a playoff spot.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 25 points, Kyle Kuzma scored 20, Rajon Rondo had a season-high 17 assists, and Lance Stephenson contributed 14 points and a season-high 13 rebounds off the bench for the Lakers, who have won three out of four games for the first time since Dec. 8-15.
Kemba Walker scored 24 points to lead the Hornets, who dropped two games behind the eighth-place Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference. Charlotte has seven games remaining, five on the road. Walker is now 0-28 in his career against James.
—Field Level Media