It took twelve tries, but the Minnesota Timberwolves finally won a game decided by four points or less. With tonight's win the Wolves are 1-11 in those games. The fact that the Wolves were able to do so against a very talented Warriors team makes it all the better.
Just one night after the All-Star starters were named, two of them went head-to-head in this one: Stephen Curry & Kevin Love. Curry finished the night with the more impressive point total, however it was Love's all around game that allowed him to finish with 26/14/8. Love also got plenty of help from Kevin Martin who had his best scoring outing (26 points) since the Nov. 30th win over the Mavericks in which he finished with 27. Nikola Peković got the best of one of the NBA's premier interior defenders (Bogut) and posted 22 points & 14 rebounds of his own.
Like every other Wolves fans chewing their fingernails to the bone and on the edge of their seats in the fourth quarter of this one--I REALLY WANTED THIS WIN!
The Wolves are now on a three-game winning streak after they hammered the lowly Jazz in their past two outings. They'll have their work cut out for them if they want to continue with their hot streak as they'll be hosted in Portland by the Trailblazers tomorrow night.
The Wolves have had some very bad losses this month--especially the one vs. Sacramento a couple weeks ago. With other bad losses coming against the Wizards, Celtics & Cavaliers--there's little doubt that tonight's game is likely the best win of the year.
With 27 seconds to play, Kevin Martin fouled Andre Iguodala and sent him to the line for two free throws with the Wolves leading 119-118. Iguodala (a 60% FT shooter) hit both of them to put the Warriors up by 1. Adelman elected to not call a timeout and the Wolves got the ball up court and played a little two man game with Love & Martin. Love got the ball behind the three-point line and both his man and Martin's man came to double team and Love quickly found Martin for an easy two-pointer just a step inside the three-point line. Martin drained it for the 121-120 lead and Love's 8th assist.
Out of a Warriors timeout (with 8 seconds to play) the Wolves played some lockdown defense and took away Golden State's two best clutch shooters (Iguodala & Curry--who both have hit multiple game winners this season). They left Harrison Barnes wide open for a 22-foot jumper that clanged off the iron as time expired. My heart skipped a beat as he put up the shot, but if the Wolves were going to leave one player open--he was the correct choice as he was 1-for-6 prior to taking that jumper.
The Wolves are now back to .500 on the year at 21-21. Let's take a look at tonight's box score...
The Wolves gave up a season-high tying (for an opponent) 120 points including a season-high 66 points in the paint and 49 made field goals. Despite all of that they were able to escape with a 121-120 win.
The Wolves also allowed the Warriors to shoot 55% from the field and usually when that happens, you're not going to win. However, it was Minnesota's effectiveness in getting to the line that allowed them to stay in this game and steal the win. The Wolves went to the line 28 times (to GSW's 15), but hit just 18 and had that Barnes jumper gone down it is the one thing we could've pointed to and just cringed!
The biggest concern coming out of tonight's game will be health. Ricky Rubio drew a charge on Andre Iguodala with 55 seconds to play that happened to be a real turning point in the game, but unfortunately he badly sprained his ankle. J.J. Barea went down with an injury of his own when Stephen Curry undercut him on a drive to the rim and he went toppling to the floor (though he did return to the court for Rubio in the final seconds of the game). Finally, Kevin Love rolled his ankle in the second half and Minnesota called a timeout. He was able to return to the court following the timeout, though he was limping a bit. Then in the final quarter, Love landed strangely on his knee and had to go out once again. After getting some ice on the knee and some rest on the bench, he returned with 8 minutes to play and finished the game for the Wolves win. We should have updates on the three of them prior to tomorrow night's game in Portland.
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!