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Interim coach Mitchell fired as T-Wolves end season on high note

Sam Mitchell, interim coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, reacts to a call during a NBA game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on February 3, 2016
AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) – The Minnesota Timberwolves fired interim coach Sam Mitchell little more than an hour after scoring a franchise record 144 points in a rout of the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Timberwolves on Wednesday closed out the season in impressive fashion by beating the Pelicans 144-109, but it wasn’t enough to save Mitchell’s job. Minnesota also won four of its final five games.

Mitchell met with owner Glen Taylor before Wednesday’s game to discuss the coaching job. 

Mitchell was given the title interim coach after taking over from the late Flip Saunders, who passed away from Hodgkin’s lymphoma just before the season began.

Minnesota improved to 29-53 on the season with the win over the Pelicans as they scored a franchise high in points, eclipsing their previous mark of 132.

Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 28 total points in the first half. He also had 14 rebounds. Towns finished his first year in the NBA with 51 double-doubles in 82 games.

The rookie of the year candidate embraced Mitchell as Towns left the game to a standing ovation halfway through the fourth quarter.

Six different Timberwolves scored in double figures. Shabazz Muhammad matched Towns with 28 points off the bench, while Gorgui Dieng added 20 points and 11 boards.

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