LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Derrick Rose dusted off his MVP costume, dropping a career-high 50 points to power the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 128-125 win over Utah in an NBA Northwest Division showdown on Wednesday.
On US Halloween night, Rose turned back the clock with a 34-point performance in the second half as the crowd of 10,000 chanted “MVP, MVP” after the final buzzer sounded.
“It was numbing,” said teammate Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with 28 points. “I never realized something like that in my life. The man was just out there floating.”
Rose, who was named NBA MVP in 2011 with the Chicago Bulls, scored every way imaginable against the Jazz.
He made two clutch free throws with 13 seconds left to give the Timberwolves a three-point lead in a tightly contested fourth quarter. Just moments earlier he had scored the go-ahead basket down low to put Minnesota ahead for good.
Rose also made a key block on a Jazz three-point attempt with two seconds left to ice the win.
“This means everything,” said Rose, who was making his first start of the season. “I worked my butt off, bro.”
Rose’s career had been beset by injuries since he won his MVP award.
“I am doing everything just to win. I played my heart out tonight. My teammates told me before the game to just play my game and it was a hell of a night,” said Rose.
Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points and Rudy Gobert added 22 for Utah. Jae Crowder tallied 18 points off the bench.
Minnesota played without all-star Jimmy Butler, and point guards Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones.
In Los Angeles, LeBron James gave the Staples Center crowd a fright when he missed the first of two free throws with two seconds left as the Lakers squeezed past the Dallas Mavericks 114-113.
“It’s Halloween so we had to give the crowd a scare, I guess,” said James.
The Lakers almost blew a big point lead late but managed to hold on for the win.
The game appeared to be headed to overtime but the Mavericks veteran Wesley Matthews took it upon himself to intentionally foul James on the Lakers’ final possession with two seconds left. That sent the four-time MVP to the free-throw line with scored tied 113-113, but after missing the first one James made the second for the win.
James finished with 29 points for the Lakers who were up 111-98 with 3:42 to go before the Mavericks went on a 15-2 run to pull even with seven seconds left.
Luca Doncic tied it at 113-113 on a jumper, setting the stage for James’ game-winning free throw.
“We had some bad moments down the stretch but this is the best way to teach them,” James said of his young team.
Matthews led Dallas with 21 points and Harrison Barnes scored 19.
In Oakland, Stephen Curry had 37 points for his sixth 30-point game of the season, and the Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 131-121.
Curry had seven three-pointers and nine assists, Kevin Durant added 24 points and eight assists, and Draymond Green delivered 16 points, 15 rebounds as the Warriors won their sixth straight.
Anthony Davis returned from a two-game absence with a sprained right elbow and had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Pelicans in a rematch of a Western Conference playoff series from last season.