OKLAHOMA CITY (Oklahoma) • It was supposed to be Carmelo Anthony's first game-winner for the Thunder on Sunday.
Instead, Timberwolves guard Andrew Wiggins spoilt Oklahoma City's celebration by launching a game-winning three-pointer of his own, releasing the ball just as time expired to trump Anthony's late triple and give Minnesota a 115-113 National Basketball Association (NBA) victory on the road.
"Whatever the circumstances are, you just have to find a way to win," said Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau, whose team beat the Utah Jazz 100-97 on Friday.
"The main thing for us, we have to concentrate on improving. If we're building the right habits, I think good things will happen."
Minnesota forward Taj Gibson knew he had to work quickly after Anthony's three-pointer with 4.7 seconds left, running the baseline to get the ball inbounded to Wiggins.
Wiggins dribbled up the court, freed up by a screen set by Karl-Anthony Towns at midcourt. With the nearest Thunder defenders hanging by the three-point arc, Wiggins banked the shot in and was quickly swarmed by his team-mates.
"Everyone was scrambling. Taj made a good pass, he was patient and found me, and KAT (Towns) had a great screen to get me open," Wiggins told ESPN after the game. "And I let it go and it felt great."
Prior to that, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who scored 15 of his 31 points in the last quarter, hit a game-tying bucket with 29 seconds left. Towns then sank a layup with 8.9 seconds left to tie the score.
That set the stage for Anthony, who finished with 23 points, for what he thought would be the game-winner. Instead, it was one-upped by Wiggins' prayer of a shot.
The Timberwolves (2-1) looked fresh, coming off a day's rest after a win over the Jazz while the Thunder (1-2) appeared to lack energy after losing to Utah on Saturday.
"Our energy level, that's something we can control, that and how aggressive(ly) we come out and play," Thunder guard Andre Roberson said. "That we've got to bring every night, no matter how we feel. Going forward, we've got to come out of the gates better."