Butler leads balanced Wolves over Mavs for dominant 111-87 win
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Sports Writer
DALLAS (AP) — Jimmy Butler led a balanced set of Minnesota starters with 21 points and the Timberwolves ended a five-game losing streak in Dallas with a 111-87 victory over the Mavericks on Friday night.
Andrew Wiggins added 19 points for the Timberwolves. They won in Dallas for the first time since March 19, 2014, two nights after getting their first win over San Antonio since just about the same time — April 8, 2014. The losing streak against the Spurs was 12 games.
Northwest Division-leading Minnesota rallied from 14 points down early in the third quarter, outscoring lowly Dallas 68-32 in the second half. The Mavericks allowed a season-low 43 points in the first half, but then had a season low in scoring for a half themselves after halftime.
Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 18 points, but had just three after halftime as Dallas shot 31 percent in the second half in falling to an NBA-worst 2-14.
Dirk Nowitzki, the 39-year-old in his 20th season for Dallas, had 15 points while being joined in the starting lineup by another native of Wurzburg, Germany, in Maxi Kleber. The 25-year-old rookie went scoreless in his first start.
The Timberwolves got back in the game in the third quarter with a 27-6 run capped by a four-point play from Butler for a 70-63 lead after he was fouled on a 3-pointer by Wesley Matthews.
A 23-2 run in the fourth quarter put the game out of reach as Karl Anthony-Towns and Taj Gibson had matching double-doubles — 15 points and 11 rebounds for Towns, 10 points and 11 rebounds for Gibson. Jeff Teague, the other starter, had 15 points and 10 assists.
The Mavericks held the Timberwolves to 32 percent shooting while taking a 55-43 halftime lead. But Minnesota made 11 of its first 13 shots in the second half and shot 63 percent after halftime.
Timberwolves: On the same night that Wiggins (22) became the eighth-youngest NBA player to reach 5,000 career points Wednesday against San Antonio, Jamal Crawford (37) became the fourth-oldest player to appear in a game for Minnesota.
Mavericks: Signed guard/forward Antonius Cleveland to a two-way contract. Cleveland played for Golden State’s G League team, averaging 14.2 points. He made his NBA debut in the final seconds of the third quarter, preventing Wiggins from getting the final shot. … The Mavericks waived G Gian Clavell. … G Devin Harris returned after missing two games with bruised ribs.
Timberwolves: Home against Detroit on Sunday looking for their first win over the Pistons since Feb. 8, 2015, a span of five games.
Mavericks: Home against Milwaukee on Saturday to wrap up their fifth back-to-back in first 17 games. Dallas doesn’t have another one until Dec. 22-23.