Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves bounce Dallas Mavericks

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves bounce Dallas Mavericks

Karl-Anthony Towns and the Minnesota Timberwolves pulled in another win Saturday. Photo by CJ Gunther/EPA

MINNEAPOLIS — Karl-Anthony Towns recovered from the worst offensive performance of his career by scoring 31 points, and Andrew Wiggins added 23 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves cruised to an easy 112-99 victory against the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.

Towns was held to just two points on 1-of-7 shooting in a win against New Orleans on Wednesday, but the third-year center had his way with Dallas. He added 12 rebounds and three blocks, notching his seventh double-double in nine games this season.

Taj Gibson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which has won four games in a row for the first time since December 2012.

The Timberwolves’ lead ballooned to 28 points in the third quarter as they coasted against the lowly Mavericks (1-10), who are off to their worst start since going 1-23 to start the 1993-94 season.

Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. had 18 points to lead Dallas. Harrison Barnes had 17 points but was scoreless in the second half, and former Wolves guard J.J. Barea had 14 points and six assists off the bench for the Mavericks, who have lost six in a row.

The arrival of Jimmy Butler, Gibson, Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford has sparked Minnesota (6-3) to the Northwest Division lead this season, gelling around young stars Towns and Wiggins. They had five wins by single digits before Saturday’s win and are 6-1 with Butler in the lineup.

Butler was held to just four points, his fewest in a game since scoring three on Jan. 27. on 1-of-6 shooting.

NOTES: Dallas G/F Wesley Matthews started the game despite being bothered by left foot soreness. Matthews worked out pregame to determine his availability. He played 26 minutes and scored five points. … The Mavericks started C Salah Mejri on Saturday to combat Minnesota C Karl-Anthony Towns. It was Mejri’s first start of the season and just his 18th in 114 career games. Nerlens Noel had started Friday at New Orleans. … The Timberwolves host Charlotte on Sunday for their second set of 15 back-to-back games this season. Minnesota lost each game of its first back-to-back of the season without Jimmy Butler in the lineup. … The Timberwolves outrebounded Dallas 48-31. It was their largest rebounding margin of the season and they are 5-0 when outrebounding opponents. … The Mavericks sat out G Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia), F Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee soreness) and F Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury).

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