MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored a career-high 51 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves overcame an early 21-point deficit with a dominant second half to beat the Washington Wizards 130-121 on Tuesday night.

Edwards had 30 points in the second half. Nickeil Alexander-Walker finished with 23 points and Rudy Gobert had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Wolves, who have won four of five and eight of 10.

Minnesota has clinched a top-three seed in the Western Conference and has a showdown at Denver on Wednesday with a potential No. 1 seed at stake. The Timberwolves and Nuggets were tied atop the West entering Tuesday, one game ahead of Oklahoma City. The Thunder beat Sacramento Tuesday night to keep pace.

Minnesota improved to 12-5 without All-Star forward Karl-Anthony Towns. The team announced Tuesday that Towns has been cleared for full-contact, five-on-five basketball activities in anticipation of his return, which could occur as soon as Friday.

A 3-pointer by Edwards gave Minnesota its first lead at 92-89 with 2:04 to play in the third quarter. Before the period expired, Edwards added another 3, scored on a fast-break dunk and fed Gobert for a dunk to push the lead to 99-92.

Edwards scored on a turnaround jumper, Gobert had another dunk and Alexander-Walker scored on a reverse layup for a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Edwards’ layup with 2:36 to go and his drive with 1:34 left established a personal best, topping the 49 points he scored against San Antonio on April 7, 2022. His total was tied for the fifth-most points in a game by a Minnesota player. Towns had 62 on Jan. 22 against Charlotte.

Corey Kispert led the short-handed Wizards with 25 points and Jordan Poole added 24. Washington has lost seven of eight.

The Wizards shot 63% in the first quarter as they went ahead by 21. They led 44-27 at the end of the period, tying a franchise season high for points in a quarter. It was the highest-scoring period by a Minnesota opponent this season.

Minnesota got a dozen points from Edwards but missed 12 of its first 15 shots. The Timberwolves also lost starting center Naz Reid, who was ejected for “unnecessary and excessive” contact after an elbow to the head of Johnny Davis while battling for a rebound.

Among the players out for Washington were forward Marvin Bagley III (sprained right knee), forward Kyle Kuzma (right ankle sprain) and forward/center Tristan Vukcevic (left knee soreness).


Wizards: Host Chicago on Friday.

Timberwolves: At Denver on Wednesday.


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