Timberwolves dominate in win over Nets

NEW YORK — Karl-Anthony Towns smiled just thinking about how happy his grandmother must have been to watch him play in person on Sunday.

So what if she would’ve preferred it to be at Yankee Stadium?

Towns had 24 points and 10 rebounds in the building where was taken with the No. 1 pick in the June draft, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Brooklyn Nets 100-85.

It was a home game for the New Jersey product, who had dinner with his parents Saturday and was able to perform in front of his grandmother, for whom he purchased League Pass so she could watch all his games on TV.

"I can only imagine today she almost probably cried when I was on the floor for a little bit," he said.

Towns said she wanted him to play baseball for the New York Yankees, but nobody can question his choice now, nor the one the Timberwolves made when they selected the 7-footer.

"I was just in the hallway warming up before the game and I remember walking through that hallway right when I just got drafted to the Minnesota Timberwolves and just (being) so happy. Brings back so many memories, Barclays does," Towns said. "Madison Square Garden may have my heart since I was a child but Barclays is where my life really started."

Gorgui Dieng added 20 points and 10 boards to lead a strong bench unit that blew the game open in the fourth quarter. Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points and Ricky Rubio had 15 assists.

Brook Lopez had 20 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Nets, who dropped their fifth straight.

"It’s nothing Xs or Os or anything like that," Lopez said. "It was just energy and effort."

Kevin Garnett was scoreless but grabbed seven rebounds in his first visit to Brooklyn since the Nets dealt him after one season to Minnesota for Thaddeus Young at the trade deadline.

The Wolves led nearly the whole way in their second straight victory. They were up 10 after one quarter and that was still the lead heading to the fourth, before a 12-3 spurt featuring two 3-pointers from Kevin Martin turned it into a 91-72 rout.

Rubio traced the Wolves’ strong play to the second half of their loss Wednesday to the Knicks, when they nearly erased a huge deficit.

"I would say the last six quarters before this game were where this team wants to be and today was more of the same," he said. "We controlled the game from the beginning until the end."

Martin had 16 points and fellow reserve Zach LaVine scored 10.

Timberwolves: It was the first of two straight games for Garnett against his former teams. On Monday, the Timberwolves visit Boston, where he won an NBA championship in 2008. . . . Minnesota made its second trip to New York in five days. The Wolves lost to the Knicks on Wednesday before returning home to beat Sacramento on Friday.

Nets: Young played for each team last season, helping the Wolves win an early-season game in Brooklyn and the Nets win a trip to Minnesota in March. . . . The 1 p.m. start was the earliest for a non-Christmas game in Brooklyn. The Nets had noon starts at home against Boston in 2012 and Chicago the next year.

Towns was offered condolences for No. 4 Kentucky’s loss here Saturday to Ohio State.

"Condolences? I didn’t know there was a death," said Towns, who led the Wildcats to 38 straight wins and the Final Four last season. "I think the worst thing that’s happened to this year’s team is last year’s team, just how much pressure we put on them because of what we were able to accomplish last year."

Coach Lionel Hollins blamed himself for not having the Nets ready to play, but added their problems were energy and effort, not tactics.

"That’s what this business has always been about," he said. "You can’t guarantee you’re going to make shots every night, but you can go out and compete every night."

Timberwolves: Visit Boston on Monday.

Nets: Visit Chicago on Monday.