In a game that should not have been that close, the Golden State Warriors rallied from down 12 in the first half and withheld a late surge from the Minnesota Timberwolves to escape the Target Center with a 106-98 victory.
The Timberwolves were without six of their top players - Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Roy, Chase Budinger, Nikola Pekovic and J.J. Barea. The Warriors took advantage by using their depth, as they had 13 available players while the T-Wolves had nine.
It wasn’t all that pretty though, as Minnesota jumped out to an early lead behind Derrick Williams’ 13 first quarter points. They trailed by as many as 12 at one point, but ended the half on a 21-6 run (which included a Stephen Curry dunk) to take a 53-50 lead into halftime. Carl Landry and David Lee had their way inside, contributing to the Warriors’ run.
Golden State began the second half strong, only to see the T-Wolves battle back to cut the lead to 65-60 midway through the third quarter. But the Warriors responded with a 17-9 burst of their own, finished off by Jarrett Jack’s fallaway jumper to beat the buzzer and end the half up by 13.
But despite being shorthanded and down by double figures, Minnesota did not back down. Similar to Wednesday against the Bobcats, Minnesota rallied from a huge deficit in the fourth quarter to get the score within three with four minutes to play.
But like Wednesday’s game, the other team was able to hold them off. Stephen Curry fouled out with 2:48 remaining, and Klay Thompson was sick and unavailable, so somebody had to step up for the Warriors.
That somebody would be the rookie Harrison Barnes, who, with the Warriors up by six with under two minutes to play, made a killer-crossover move on Andrei Kirilenko and finished it off with a beautiful finish at the rim to put the game out of reach.
Barnes and David Lee led the Warriors with 18 points each, with the rookie putting together his second consecutive strong outing (he had 19 on Wednesday against Atlanta).
Other notes: All five Warriors’ starters had a positive +/- rating….Carl Landry chipped in 15 points off the bench in 29 minutes….The Warriors were without center Andrew Bogut, who is currently rehabbing his ankle in Los Angeles with a surgeon.
Up next: The Warriors will travel to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on Sunday. Golden State has lost six straight in Oklahoma City.