MIAMI — Karl-Anthony Towns had a perfect day, unlike many Minnesota fans.
His beloved Philadelphia Eagles earned the chance to defend their Super Bowl title — and got that postseason berth because Minnesota lost its season finale, which kept the Vikings from the playoffs.
“Fly Eagles Fly,” Towns said.
Vikings fans probably weren’t thrilled to hear that. Timberwolves fans, after the night Towns had, may forgive him.
Towns’ monster game — 34 points, 18 rebounds, seven assists and six blocked shots — led Minnesota past the Miami Heat 113-104 on Sunday night. He became the first player to post such a stat line since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had 35 points, 19 rebounds, nine assists and eight blocks for the Los Angeles Lakers against Phoenix on Nov. 14, 1975.
“I wanted to make the right plays that we needed to win,” Towns said. “I’m glad I was able to make them.”
He made them in bunches.
When Miami cut an 11-point Minnesota lead to two midway through the fourth, Towns took over: a short hook stopped what was a 9-0 Heat run, and was soon followed by a three-point play and then a 3-pointer to restore the 11-point lead. Miami didn’t challenge again.
“The stat line was very impressive by itself,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But the impact of the timeliness of his plays … every time it seemed we got it to six, he had a big bucket or a rebound or something that kept their momentum going.”
Robert Covington scored 16 and Taj Gibson added 14 for Minnesota. The Wolves also got 13 apiece from Andrew Wiggins and Dario Saric, while Tyus Jones scored 12.
Dwyane Wade led Miami with 21 points. Josh Richardson scored 17, Derrick Jones Jr. added 16 and Hassan Whiteside grabbed 13 rebounds for the Heat — who ended the 2018 calendar year with a 43-43 record.
“We made strides this month,” Wade said. “The loss can take away from the success of this month, but we’re making strides. We want to make sure in the new year, we understand how well we can play.”
Miami led only once, and that was for all of 25 seconds. The Heat missed their first eight shots, and gave up 24 points off turnovers.
“I thought our defense was good,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought the start of the game was obviously important for us. It’s hard to win on the road and this team has been playing great basketball. So it’s a good solid win for us.”
Raptors 95, Bulls 89
TORONTO — Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, Pascal Siakam had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Toronto recorded its seventh straight win over Chicago.
Danny Green and Fred VanVleet each scored 10 points as the Raptors bounced back from their largest defeat of the season, a 29-point loss at Orlando on Friday.
Lauri Markkanen had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Wendell Carter Jr. had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who didn’t score for the first 3:19 of the fourth quarter.
Chicago’s Zach LaVine fouled out with 13 points. It was a poor shooting night for LaVine, who went 3 for 17, including 0 for 3 from 3-point range.
Kris Dunn scored 14 points, and Justin Holiday and Chandler Hutchison each had 11 as the Bulls fell to 5-8 under coach Jim Boylen.
Mavericks 105, Thunder 103
DALLAS — Teenage rookie Luka Doncic scored 25 points and young backcourt mate Dennis Smith Jr. hit the go-ahead layup in the final minute for Dallas.
Paul George scored the last 13 points for Oklahoma City and finished with 36, but he missed a pull-up jumper over Smith with 2 seconds left in the first of two straight meetings on back-to-back nights for these regional rivals.
The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook was 4 of 22 from the field for nine points with nine rebounds and eight assists.
Smith scored 14 points. DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 17 rebounds.
George was 12 of 24 from the field but just 3 of 11 from 3-point distance as the Thunder shot 24 percent from beyond the arc. Westbrook missed all eight of his attempts from long range.