Wolves falter after hot start against Warriors
Published 2:29 am Tuesday, April 15, 2014
OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry had 32 points and 15 assists, and the reeling Golden State Warriors rallied from 19 points down in the first half to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 130-120 on Monday night.
After learning that center Andrew Bogut could miss extended time with a fractured right rib, the Warriors (50-31) withstood a strong start by Kevin Love to secure the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They finish the regular season Wednesday at Denver before beginning the postseason at the Los Angeles Clippers or Oklahoma City this weekend.
Love scored 22 of his 40 points in the first quarter. He finished with 14 rebounds and nine assists for the Timberwolves (40-41), who will need to win at Utah on Wednesday to clinch the franchise’s first non-losing season since 2004-05.
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Draymond Green added 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Klay Thompson scored 20 for the Warriors, who were playing their fourth game in five nights — and after learning of a big blow to their chances of advancing in the playoffs.
The team announced before the game that an X-ray on Bogut revealed a fractured right rib. The injury could keep Golden State’s starting center out for the start of the playoffs — and possibly all of the postseason.
The Warriors also overcame a nothing-too-lose Timberwolves team that has been surging to the finish. In April alone, Minnesota has won at Miami and at Memphis and also beaten San Antonio and Houston at home.
In the end, the Warriors cleaned up their mistakes and made all the big plays that the Timberwolves couldn’t. Minnesota committed 21 turnovers, while the Warriors had 15.
After Love’s 3-pointer moved Minnesota within three, the Warriors leaned on Curry once again. He banked in a left-handed floater and hit a step-back 3-pointer over Corey Brewer during a 6-0 spurt to put the Warriors up 126-116 with 1:25 to play.
Curry walked to the bench during the timeout flexing his muscles as the white-shirt wearing sellout of 19,596 roared to their feet in the final home game of the season.
Love and Curry controlled most of the game, especially in the first half.
Love made three straight 3s to start the game as Minnesota opened a 16-2 lead behind his could-not-miss stroke. He finished the first quarter with 22 points and eight rebounds to put the Timberwolves up 42-28.
After Minnesota went ahead 51-32 early in the second quarter, Curry brought the Warriors back.
Curry capped a 23-4 spurt with consecutive 3-pointers before finding a cutting Thompson for a layup to tie the score at 55. Minnesota moved ahead 64-62 at the half.
The teams traded scores for most of the third quarter. The Warriors built a 104-96 lead early in the fourth quarter and held off the Timberwolves in the closing minutes.
NOTES: The Warriors last won 50 games when they finished the 1993-94 season with a 50-32 record. … Timberwolves C Ronny Turiaf sat out to rest his right knee. … The Warriors set the second-highest total attendance in franchise history for the season with 803,436 fans. The team sold out all 41 home games and has a streak of 79 consecutive sellouts.