Wolves slow Warriors' chase for 73 in OT
OAKLAND, CA - The Minnesota Timberwolves have just 26 wins this season, but at least now they have one to feature on their season highlight reel. The Timberwolves shockingly stalled the Golden State Warriors' pursuit of history Tuesday night, rid...
OAKLAND, CA - The Minnesota Timberwolves have just 26 wins this season, but at least now they have one to feature on their season highlight reel.
The Timberwolves shockingly stalled the Golden State Warriors' pursuit of history Tuesday night, riding a fourth-quarter comeback and Andrew Wiggins' nine overtime points to a stunning, 124-117 victory over the defending champs.
Minnesota outscored Golden State 10-2 at the free-throw line in the extra session, completing a 28-7 dominance at the line that doomed the Warriors' pursuit for a 70th victory.
"Great win for us," Timberwolves coach Sam Mitchell said. "We shared the ball. Thirty assists. We just kept coming. I can't say enough."
Minnesota, which trailed by 15 points in the first quarter and 17 with just 18 minutes to go, held Golden State without a field goal for the final 2:22 of regulation, then scored the first four points of the overtime session to pull out its first victory over the Warriors in the past eight meetings.
"We just found something," Mitchell said of the comeback. "We started making shots, and our confidence grew. I thought once we got the game into overtime, it was a 50-50 game after that."
Center Karl-Anthony Towns had two key hoops midway through the overtime to keep the Warriors at bay, after which the Timberwolves' final six points came at the line.
Both teams made four field goals over the extra five minutes, but Minnesota did so in five attempts while Golden State shot 4-for-12, including 1-for-5 on 3-pointers.
The Warriors also committed two turnovers in overtime, bringing their game total to a season-worst 24.
"We decided to turn it into a show," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, "and we started turning it over like crazy. We were trying to hit home runs instead of a bunch of singles."
The Warriors (69-9) still have a chance to beat the Chicago Bulls' all-time record win total of 72, but now they must sweep their final four games, including a Thursday home showdown with the San Antonio Spurs (65-12).
Golden State will take a 3 1/2-game lead over the Spurs into that game. A Warriors win would clinch the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Golden State also visits San Antonio on Sunday.
"We've got to embrace the challenge," said Warriors star Stephen Curry, whose team has lost two of its past three games. "It's obviously not easy to get (the record). We're proving that right now."
Reserve guard Shabazz Muhammad had a career-high 35 points, and Wiggins added 32 for the Timberwolves. Minnesota (26-52) had lost three in a row, all to Western playoff clubs and hopefuls.
Golden State, meanwhile, lost at home for just the second time this season. The Warriors also had a 101-game win streak snapped in games in which they led by 15 or more points.
In fact, it took less than seven minutes for the Warriors to take that 15-point lead. They made seven consecutive shots, including three 3-pointers, in an 18-2 flurry that opened a 25-10 advantage.
But it was mostly downhill after that.
"The shame of it is that we were really rolling early," Kerr said. "We had them on their heels. But we got totally away from ourselves, and after that, it was bad all around: bad coaching, bad playing, bad everything."
Opening a three-game trip, the Timberwolves still trailed 71-54 in the third period and took an 86-78 deficit into the fourth quarter before rallying behind 3-pointers by Muhammad and Zach LaVine into a 94-all tie with 6:40 to go.
The Timberwolves seemed to catch a bad break when, down by three with 1:09 to go, a possible three-point play by Towns was overturned to an offensive foul on video replay.
However, Minnesota shut down the Golden State offense and eventually forced overtime when Wiggins got to the basket for a driving hoop that tied the game at 106-all with 19.8 seconds left.
The Warriors then failed to get off a shot before the horn sounded to end regulation.
Towns finished with a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double, and LaVine, hitting four 3-pointers, added 16 points for the Timberwolves, who improved to 4-3 in overtime games by handing Golden State its first extra-time loss of the season after six wins.
Klay Thompson had 28 points and Curry 21 for the Warriors, but they combined for just 8-for-25 shooting on 3-pointers.
Curry experienced an especially rough shooting night, going 7-for-25 from the field and 4-for-14 from beyond the arc.
He did lead all players with 15 assists, but he committed three of Golden State's 24 turnovers.
Andrew Bogut had a 10-point, 15-rebound double-double for the Warriors, and Harrison Barnes scored 20.
NOTES: Minnesota SG Shabazz Muhammad's previous high for the season was 30 points against the Utah Jazz on Dec. 30. ... Muhammad's 35 points were the most for a reserve against the Warriors this season. ... With C Andrew Bogut (bruised ribs) and SF Andre Iguodala (sprained ankle) returning Tuesday, the Warriors had a fully healthy roster for the first time since Jan. 25. ... Iguodala had four points and three turnovers in 19 minutes off the bench. ... Earlier in the day, the NBA awarded Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns the Western Conference Rookie of the Month honor for the fifth time this season. He averaged 21.9 points and 10.5 rebounds in March. ... Towns became just the ninth player in the 34-year history of the award to be a conference's top rookie five times, joining Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Ralph Sampson.
By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange