ORACLE ARENA — The Timberwolves came into Oracle intending to extend their winning streak. They did just that Friday night, beating the Warriors 121-120.
The day after Warriors guard Stephen Curry was announced as a starter to the Western Conference NBA All-Star team — and even with his 33 points and 15 assists — Golden State fell short.
Kevin Martin’s dagger jumper with just seconds left gave Minnesota their third-straight win, despite Andre Iguodala’s heroic efforts in the final minutes.
Following the dramatic ending, Iguodala said the disappointing loss wasn’t what is weighing heaviest on his mind:
“I’m more worried about our mindset, and looking forward to what type of team we are and how we’re going to respond.”
The Timberwolves pulled out to an early eight-point lead before Curry cut the gap to three on a driving layup. On the inbound, Kevin Love threw a long pass that was caught by Draymond Green and passed back to Curry.
Curry stepped back, took a deep three and connected despite being fouled by Ricky Rubio. Curry completed the four-point play and took the lead 29-28 with just over three minutes left in the first quarter.
Golden State’s second unit started the second quarter and, just as Minnesota started to gain ground, Marreese Speights started to come alive with dunks, assists and fading buckets while falling to the floor as the Warriors took a 50-47 lead.
Coming out of halftime tied up 63-63, the third quarter was a grind as both teams barely got away from each other on either side of the floor.
But in the final minutes of the frame, the Warriors went on a 10-0 run, sparked by Curry, and started the fourth quarter with a seven-point lead.
The Warriors second unit quickly gave up the lead in the first two minutes of the final quarter, and with just over six minutes left the game was tied 104-104 after back-to-back buckets from Nikola Pekovic.
Over the next few minutes the Warriors fell apart, sending Minnesota to the charity stripe and making bad passes, and with 2:37 left to play they were down 116-111.
Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said pulling ahead late in the game was a testament to his team’s defense:
“I didn’t think anybody was going to stop anybody in the first half, but the second half we just stayed with it. We stayed with it.”
Iguodala wasn’t willing to let the game go. He dunked, then hit a three pointer and was fouled with a chance to tie the game at the free throw line — but missed.
With 27.9 seconds left Iguodala was sent to the line again, making good on both attempts to put the Warriors on top 120-119.
On the other end, Martin hit a contested jumper with 8.4 seconds left giving the Timberwolves a 121-120 advantage. The Warriors called a timeout to draw up a final play, but Harrison Barnes’ wide open final shot fell short at the buzzer.
Martin said it was great to win such a close game and that he feels like good things are starting to happen for his team:
“We can’t shy away from that moment. You are going to win some and lose some and you have to stick with the plan and know that they will start to go in your favor.”
Golden State dazzled fans with their 10-game winning streak earlier this month. They have since lost five of their last seven.
Coach Mark Jackson said that his team is playing bad defense night after night, and in order to win they need to stay hungry:
“Former great coach Pat Riley told a team I played on ‘You have to have the disease of greed and you have to want more’. You can’t be satisfied. At times we are satisfied, or at times we thing we are good enough to go through the motions to win ballgames.”
The Warriors, now 26-18 overall, continue their home stand Sunday against the Portland Trailblazers (32-11).
Minnesota snapped a seven-game losing streak vs. Golden STate, tied for the Timberwolves’ second-longest active losing streak against a single opponent (L.A. Clippers-8). … Golden State has now lost five of its las seven after winning 10-straight and have now lost three straight at Oracle for the first time since losing six straight from April 12-Nov. 2, 2012. … Golden State has now played a league-high 17 games decided by four points-or-fewer, going 8-9 in those contests. … Stephen Curry totaled 33 points and 15 assists for his league-leading sixth 30-point/10-assist game of the season, setting a single-season career-high, becoming the first Warriors to post at least six such games in a single season since Tim Hardaway did so in 1992-93 with eight. … Kevin Love finished with 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in 37 minutes for his league-leading 26th 20-point/10-rebound game of the season.