Warriors storm past Wolves to clinch playoffs

ORACLE ARENA — Led by 30 from Klay Thompson, the Warriors clinched their first playoff berth since 2007 in a 105-89 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday night.

A third quarter surge by the Warriors including a 18-4 run solidified a Golden State 78-64 lead which they would not relinquish.

Fans at Oracle took to their feet for the game’s final minute, chanting “playoffs” as the game ended and “MVP” as Stephen Curry and David Lee were interviewed on the court after the game.

Head Coach Mark Jackson said he cried after the game and thanked God for his team’s success. He added he was happy to just be a part of the moment:

Warriors Head Coach Mark Jackson

“This is a heck of an accomplishment. There’s people in this area that have been waiting for it for a long time. I see security guards high-fiving and smiling … it’s been a long time. It’s a great, great accomplishment and I’m just extremely humbled and blessed to be a part of it.”

Possibly the most lackluster first half by the Warriors this season was held together by a one-man show from Thompson, who poured in 25 of his game-high 30 points in the first half.

Thompson said it was exciting in the locker room after the game, but that the team still has work to do:

Warriors Guard Klay Thompson

“We celebrate tonight, but you know we still got teams on our heels, so we’ve got to get back to business tomorrow, but definitely enjoy this feeling tonight.”

With 2:47 left in the first half, Curry hit his first 3-pointer, and the tempo finally changed to favor the Warriors. After two dunks from Harrison Barnes — who finished the game with his fourth career double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds — the Dubs went into the half with a one-point advantage.

The Warriors came out firing on in the third quarter, which saw 13 of Curry’s 24 points and four of Thompson’s five steals  while the team held Minnesota to just 21.1 percent shooting.

With the clock at 6:58 in the third, Minnesota guard Luke Ridnour collided with and fouled Thompson coming down the floor, then stepped up to Thompson and looked ready to rumble.

Ridnour was called for a technical foul, and just when it seemed the crowd couldn’t be more pleased, Lee sent a lob pass to a high-flying Barnes for a ferocious alley-oop, and Oracle erupted.

The rest of the game sailed along with ease for the Warriors, who have been sporting “playoff beards” since the end of March. The consensus in the locker room was that everyone was ready to be rid of the facial hair, especially Curry:

“I can’t wait to go home right now and shave, some guys are doing it right now as we speak.”

The Warriors return to the playoffs for only the third time since 1994 for their first postseason appearance since “We Believe” in 2007.

Coach Jackson made it clear to his team that celebration was in order, but this was not the end of the road:

“I told them, don’t you dare go to the baggage claim, because this is just a layover, this is not our final destination. Celebrate that we got here, but this is not our final destination.”

Notes

Thompson scored 30 points, his third career 30-plus game. … Thompson’s third 3-pointer of the night gave him 200 for the season. … Curry, Lee, and Thompson all finished the night with double-doubles including Lee’s league-leading 53rd. … Andrew Bogut grabbed a season high 14 rebounds and blocked three shots. … The Warriors won their sixth consecutive game against the Timberwolves and have won 12 of the last 14 in the series. … The Warriors sold out their 30th consecutive game, the team’s longest sellout streak since the renovation of Oracle Arena increased the building’s capacity.