Los Angeles: Andrew Wiggins thwarted the Oklahoma City Thunder's comeback bid, launching a game-winning three-pointer as time expired to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 115-113 NBA triumph on Sunday.
Wiggins' banked in shot from near half-court denied new Thunder signing Carmelo Anthony a signature moment with his new club. Anthony had put Oklahoma City up with five seconds remaining.
"I could see how much time was left," Wiggins said. "I got as close as I could and let it go."
"Everything worked perfectly," Wiggins added. "When it left my hands it felt amazing."
The result left the crowd in Oklahoma City — not to mention the Thunder — stunned by a second straight defeat.
Anthony, acquired in September from the New York Knicks in a blockbuster trade, finished with 23 points.
Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 27 points apiece. Towns also pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds.
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook, coming off a six-point performance in a loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday, shook off a slow start to score 31 points with 10 assists for Oklahoma City.
But his late-game heroics weren't enough after the Thunder's lackluster start.
He scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-pointer with 30 seconds remaining that tied the game at 110-110.
Towns answered with another basket, and after Anthony's three-pointer put the Thunder up again Wiggins swooped for the win.
Westbrook wasn't convinced that the hard screen set by Towns that freed Wiggins for the game-winner — and knocked down the Thunder's Paul George — was legal.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan said he'd leave it to NBA officials to "deal with that stuff".
Center Steven Adams was a lone bright spot for the Thunder in the early going, scoring 14 first-half points. But even though his efforts helped the Thunder outscore the Timberwolves by 10 points in the paint in the first half, it was Minnesota who led at the break 61-54.
The Timberwolves led 88-75 going into the fourth. The Thunder opened the final period with a 14-6 scoring run before their late charge ultimately fell short.
The Brooklyn Nets, stung by the injury to Jeremy Lin in the first game of the season, nevertheless notched a second straight victory with a 116-104 home win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Allen Crabbe, playing limited minutes as he continues his recovery from a pre-season ankle injury, produced 20 points, including a three-pointer with 4:37 left to play that broke a 99-99 tie and put the Nets ahead for good.
Crabbe was efficient in his 25:38 minutes on the court, coming off the bench and making seven of 12 shots and four of the Nets' 11 three-pointers.
"They give me the green light to shoot the ball, so it's not going to hurt me to get them up," Crabbe said. "The basket looks bigger and bigger after each one I make."
Pelicans hold off late Lakers rally for first win
The New Orleans Pelicans were watching another double-digit lead evaporate, with the Los Angeles Lakers using a furious 27-4 run to take a five-point lead.
This time, the Pelicans were ready for the challenge.
They answered with an 11-0 run of their own to beat the Lakers 119-112 on Sunday night for their first victory of the season.
"We have to stop letting off the gas when we have big leads," New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins said. "This is something we've done the previous two games and we're trying to stop it on the fly."
The Pelicans (1-2) were able to ward off the challenge from the Lakers (1-2) behind 27 points and 17 rebounds from Anthony Davis, and 22 points and 11 rebounds from Cousins.
"We started off the game playing well," said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, who earned his 400th career victory. "Then in the third quarter, our transition defense just wasn't good."
The Lakers' late rally was led by reserves. Jordan Clarkson topped Los Angeles with 24 points, while Kyle Kuzma added 20 points to match guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Lakers prized rookie Lonzo Ball struggled with his shot (3 of 13) and finished with just eight points, but did contribute 13 assists and eight rebounds.
"I like Lonzo's aggressiveness, he just didn't make shots," Lakers coach Luke Walton said.
The Lakers missed their first eight shots of the game, falling behind by double digits early. New Orleans went up by as many as 22 in the second quarter and was still ahead 94-74 when the Lakers went on their run.
Clarkson and Kuzma scored the last nine points of the third, and then with reserves Julius Randle and Josh Hart aiding the comeback, outscored the Pelicans 18-4 to open the final period.
"We let them back in the game, and that's on us, but we kept fighting," Davis said.
New Orleans trailed 110-106 with 4:46 to play when it answered with its 11-0 run. E'Twaun Moore (19 points) and Cousins sparked the comeback, with Jameer Nelson — just signed Sunday — hitting a key 3-pointer.
"I think he already earned his contract," Gentry said. "He made the biggest shot of the night."
With inputs from Agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 23, 2017 15:57:38 IST