The Timberwolves tried to break their seven game losing streak as they hosted the Warriors in this afternoon matinee matchup. Golden State had won their five straight meetings against the Wolves, with guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry leading the way. Prior to today’s game, Ellis has averaged 25.3 points in his last eight games against the Wolves, whereas Curry has averaged 23.5 points in the last two games versus the Wolves.
Stephen Curry, who was the seventh overall pick of the Golden State Warriors in the 2009 NBA Draft and taken after the Wolves selected Guard Johnny Flynn, would have been a tremendous fit for the Wolves with his sharpshooting and playmaking skills. Unfortunately, with Flynn still recovering from off-season hip surgery and Curry flourishing in Golden State’s open style offense, it seems like the Wolves may have missed on not drafting Curry. However, the jury is still out with Flynn in his second year as a pro. Do you remember when everyone thought the Wolves made a huge mistake when the Wolves traded O.J. Mayo for Kevin Love and Mike Miller (which later turned out to be the draft rights to Ricky Rubio)? With a full season to recover, Flynn could help the Wolves next year – either in a backup role or build his value as a tradeable asset this off-season.
After a horrible finish against the Hornets on Friday, the Wolves got off to a great start against the Warriors, hitting nine out of their first twelve shots, including 3-3 from the three-point stripe to hold an early 21-12 lead in the first quarter. The ball movement was crisp early on with each Wolves player keen on making the extra pass and finding the open man. The Warriors countered with a 10-0 run and finished the quarter by shooting a blistering 61% to take a 41-32 lead, with Dorrell Wright leading the way with 15 points.
With the Wolves trailing by 14 points in the second quarter, Flynn came off the bench and helped the Wolves cut the lead to 49-45, with a pull up jumper and 3 straight assists. Curry answered with a pair of baskets and a nice no-look pass to a cutting Louis Amundson to push the Warriors lead back up to 58-49. With the hustle of Love and reserve Anthony Tolliver, the Wolves outscored the Warriors 20-4 on Second Chance points in the first half. Kevin Love was able to record his 46th consecutive Double-Double in the first half alone and led the Wolves with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The Warriors led at the half 73-69.
The Wolves started the second half with inspired play and tremendous teamwork, outscoring the Warriors 20-5, to take a 89-78 lead with six minutes to play in the third quarter. Kevin Love led the charge scoring 14 points and 9 rebounds in the quarter to help turn a Wolves four point deficit at the half to a 104-89 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Warriors outscored the Wolves 34-20 and closed the gap to 124-123 with Monta Ellis’s key steal and dunk with 1:42 to play. The Wolves had a chance to ice the game but Luke Ridnour’s poor shot selection and decision making kept the game close on three consecutive Wolves’ possessions. With the score still 124-123 with 5 seconds left in the game, the Warriors ran an isolation play on the right side for Monta Ellis. As Ellis drove to the basket, Wolves guard Wesley Johnson hung in the air and swatted Ellis’s shot, preserving a Wolves 126-123 win.
Kevin Love had another monster game – 37 points and 23 rebounds, marking his fourth 30+ points/20+ rebound game this year. Michael Beasley had a great game as well, scoring 17 of his 23 points in the second half. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 33 points and a career high 11 rebounds.
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Written by Phil Aguila