MINNEAPOLIS – Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points and Lou Williams added 27 as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-112 on Wednesday night.

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers in the third quarter against Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 10 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Leonard and Williams took the lead in the closing stages, with two late points from Leonard thwarting Minnesota’s comeback attempt. Los Angeles suffered its first two defeats of the season.

STORY: LeBron leads the Lakers again in Thunder’s final week in OT, 114-113.

Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in his comeback after missing 13 games. Towns announced on Jan. 15 that he tested positive for COVID-19 and remained on the league’s health and safety protocol list until Wednesday, when coach Ryan Saunders said Towns was a game-time decision.

Naz Reed led Minnesota with 23 points off the bench and Malik Beasley added 21. The Timberwolves lost three consecutive games and eight of 10.

Minnesota led by as many as 13 points in the first half before the lead narrowed. On the Timberwolves’ bench, Jaylen Nowell and rookie Jaden McDaniels played strong first-half performances to maintain the lead.

After trailing by six points at halftime, the Clippers went into the third quarter up 11-3. Leonard scored 10 of Los Angeles’ 33 points in the third quarter, and the Clippers took an eight-point lead into the fourth.

Patrick Beverley returned for the Clippers after missing eight years due to a right knee injury. Beverley started Wednesday’s game, but only picked up two points in the first half.

When Towns returns for the Wolves, D’Angelo Russell’s guard remains on the bench with a sore left leg. Towns and Russell have played just five games together since Minnesota acquired Russell in a trade on February 6, 2020. Russell remains day-to-day.

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TIPS:

Scissors: Paul George missed his third game in a row with a swollen right toe. George is the Clippers’ second-highest scorer this year, averaging 24.4 points. …Williams’ 27 points were the best of the season.

Timberwolves: McDaniels had four blockers in the first half, a record. …Reed scored his fourth 20-point game of his career and third of the season.

NEXT HOUR

Scissors: Los Angeles ends its short trip on Friday with a game at Chicago. The Clippers will have to play without Paul George again on Friday.

Timberwolves: Minnesota heads to Charlotte on Friday. It is the first of two encounters between Wolves and Hornets.

READ MORE: Pebble Beach Golf Links Profile: Simply one of the best courses in the world.

(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed).

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