Wolves win back-and-forth, high-scoring game against Clippers

The starting five looked a lot different on Monday night.
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Ryan Saunders

The Timberwolves and Clippers elected to play little defense Monday night and Minnesota held on for a 130-120 win at Target Center to snap a three-game losing streak. 

With Andrew Wiggins out sick and Derrick Rose returning from an ankle injury, head coach Ryan Saunders mixed up the starting lineup by going with Jeff Teague at point guard, Josh Okogie at shooting guard, Luol Deng at small forward, Dario Saric at power forward and Karl-Anthony Towns at center. 

Saunders said he just "needed to mix things up" and that Taj Gibson, whom came off the bench with Saric in the starting lineup, supported the decision. 

The game was wild. Minnesota trailed at the half and then went on a massive run to take a 87-64 lead midway through the third quarter, and then in a flash Lou Williams went bonkers with 34 of his game-high 45 points to cut Minnesota's lead to four points late in the fourth quarter. 

Minnesota held on, but not without a little panic. 

Deng started in place of Wiggins and was a team-best plus-28 with 12 points and nine rebounds in 38 minutes, and Saric made 7-of-11 shots and finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes. 

Rose came off the bench and scored 22 points in 25 minutes. 

Oh, and Towns put up another double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds while hitting 10-of-12 free throws. 

Minnesota hosts Houston on Wednesday night and it's another big game if they hope to stay in the playoff race. They're four games behind eighth-place Sacramento entering play Tuesday. 

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