MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota's slow-to-develop, up-and-down defense has finally started to shine, against this high-octane Houston team no less.

There's been no wait quite like the one for a win by the Timberwolves in the playoffs, though.

Jimmy Butler hit four 3-pointers among his 28 points and Karl-Anthony Towns snapped back from a bad start to the series with 18 points and 16 rebounds, leading the Timberwolves past the Rockets 121-105 in Game 3 on Saturday night for their first postseason victory in 14 years.

Jeff Teague scored 23 points and Andrew Wiggins pitched in 20 points with another four 3-pointers, helping the Timberwolves match the NBA's best 3-point shooting team with 15 makes apiece from long range. Minnesota took 27; Houston launched 41.

Not to be left out was Derrick Rose and his 17 points off the bench, including 10 points in nine minutes before halftime. The Wolves closed the third quarter with a 26-14 run and produced spurts of 15-3 and 11-2 in the final period, perfecting their plan to play at a faster pace.

The Rockets made four 3-pointers on their last seven possessions of the first half to turn an 11-point deficit to just one in less than 3½ minutes up until the break. Butler twisted his left ankle during that stretch, causing him to clutch his foot in pain and create some brief anxiety in the arena, but he didn't require, or at least accept, any medical attention. There was no hint that he was hurt in the second half.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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