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Warriors’ defensive woes continue
January 25, 2014, 05:00 AM The Associated Press

OAKLAND — Kevin Martin hit a step-back jumper with 8.4 seconds left, lifting the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Golden State Warriors 121-120 on Friday night for their third straight victory.

Martin finished with 26 points despite playing with a cut on his right pinkie. Kevin Love added 26 points and 14 rebounds in a back-and-forth game that featured just about everything — except defense.

Harrison Barnes missed an open jumper before the final buzzer sounded, leaving Golden State with its second consecutive loss.

Stephen Curry had 33 points and 15 assists, and David Lee finished with 23 points and seven rebounds for the Warriors, who outshot Minnesota 55 percent to 50 percent but were outrebounded 44-41.

It was the first game since the NBA announced Thursday that Curry and Love were voted All-Star starters for the first time. Love had been a reserve twice before, but Curry had never made the All-Star team.

Neither disappointed.

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. After Curry followed with two free throws, Corey Brewer hit a 3-pointer to give the Wolves a 116-111 lead with 2:55 remaining.

The teams traded baskets before Andre Iguodala’s jumper brought the Warriors within three. Rubio made one of two free throws, then Iguodala hit a 3 while getting fouled by Martin — but missed the potential tying free throw.

Iguodala got the ball back after a miss by Minnesota, and he was dribbling on the fast break before Rubio stepped in front of him to draw a charge, which Iguodala vehemently protested.

Iguodala came back on the next possession to make two free throws that gave Golden State a 120-119 lead with 27.9 seconds left after getting fouled on a reach-in by Martin, who quickly atoned for his mistake. Martin made a shot over Klay Thompson in the corner to put the Timberwolves in front for good.

Nikola Pekovic had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Rubio dished out 12 assists and scored nine points for Minnesota, which improved to 1-11 in games decided by four points or less.

Neither team entered at full strength, perhaps contributing to the defensive deficiencies.

Andrew Bogut, who tied his career high with seven blocks, strained his right knee and Lee sprained his left shoulder in the fourth quarter of Golden State’s loss to Indiana on Monday night. Bogut banged knees with another player under the basket, and Lee was injured when his pump-fake drew Pacers center Roy Hibbert in the air and on top of him for a foul.

The Wolves also entered the game nursing bumps and bruises — and even a bone break. Alexey Shved played with a plastic mask over his fractured nose, and Martin started with a lacerated pinkie.

The Wolves went ahead by eight early in the first quarter before Curry got hot, finishing with 15 points in the period, including banking in a 28-footer off the glass while getting fouled by Rubio to start a four-point play.

The teams were tied 63-all at halftime, and nothing slowed them down after the break. Love appeared to turn his left ankle going for a rebound, but he shook off the pain and stayed in the game, giving Golden State fits on the boards to bring Minnesota back.

NOTES: Minnesota’s second team bus, carrying coach Rick Adelman and about half the players, arrived an hour before tipoff after getting backed up in traffic from San Francisco — where most visiting teams stay. ... The Warriors had won seven straight over the Wolves entering the game, including once this season. ... The Warriors and Wolves meet for the final time this season April 14 in Oakland.



Tags: points, minnesota, before, curry, wolves, warriors,

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