OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - The streak that has haunted Minnesota all season is finally over.
After losing 11 straight games decided by four points or less, the Timberwolves wouldn’t let another opportunity slip away.
Kevin Martin made a step-back jumper with 8.4 seconds left for the go-ahead score, Kevin Love lived up to his new All-Star credentials and Minnesota outlasted the Golden State Warriors 121-120 on Friday night for its third consecutive victory.
“It feels good. Eventually we’ve got to win games like that,” said Love, who was voted into the All-Star game as a starter for the first time Thursday. “We just need to grow up in situations like that and get a little bit of luck on our side.”
Minnesota double-teamed Stephen Curry on a pick-and-roll on the final possession, forcing him to pass to a wide-open Harrison Barnes standing just inside the 3-point line. Barnes missed the jumper before the final buzzer sounded, leaving Golden State with its second straight loss - and giving the Timberwolves a monumental win that has eluded them all season.
“I just like the way we competed all game,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “I didn’t think anybody was going to stop anybody in the first half, but in the second half we stayed with it. It’s the type of team that scores in bunches so you have to get some kind of momentum going where you’re shutting things down.”
The back-and-forth game featured just about everything - except defense.
The Warriors outshot the Wolves 55 percent to 50 percent but were outrebounded 44-41. Both teams also finished 9 of 13 from beyond the arc.
Curry had 33 points and 15 assists in his first game since being voted to the Western Conference All-Star team as well, and David Lee added 23 points and seven rebounds for the streaky Warriors - who have lost five of seven since winning 10 in a row.
“There is not one guy that is doing their job defensively,” coach Mark Jackson said.
And neither team did, either.
The Warriors scored the final 10 points of the third quarter to take a 98-91 lead before Minnesota rallied to tie it halfway through the fourth.
The Wolves began to pull away when Ricky Rubio stole the ball from Curry and passed ahead to Love, who started a three-point play when he was fouled by Curry, putting Minnesota ahead by four. Corey Brewer hit a 3-pointer the next time down to give the Wolves a 116-111 lead with 2:55 remaining.