Diogu, Dunleavy Lift Warriors Past Wolves
Golden State 105, Minnesota 97
OAKLAND, Calif., March 16 (Ticker) -- Rookie Ike Diogu and Mike Dunleavy teamed to keep life on the road miserable for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Diogu scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half and Dunleavy collected 17 of his 24 in the fourth quarter as the Golden State Warriors posted a 105-97 victory over the Timberwolves.
"No positives at all," Minnesota guard Ricky Davis said of the trek. "We did some good things, but the losses cover over everything so guys just keep grinding, keep working for next year."
Just one of the losses came by double digits. Minnesota ended the first quarter of this one with a 32-25 lead but gradually saw the Warriors, who were coming off a 1-4 road trip, gain control. Dunleavy's 3-pointer just before halftime pulled Golden State within 55-52 and Troy Murphy had a basket midway through the third quarter as the hosts tied it, 61-61. Jason Richardson hit a 3-pointer moments later to hand the Warriors their first lead of the half, 64-63, and Diogu scored the game's next four points.
"We played great against them in the first half," Davis said. "We could've beat them if we didn't have the drought we had in the third quarter, so it's been our downfall the whole year, the third quarter. So we've just got to figure out what it takes to come out with the same intensity that we do in the first half."
Dunleavy then took over in the fourth, scoring Golden State's first 15 points of the period. He capped the personal run with his third 3-pointer for a 90-74 lead with 7:01 left.
"Finally, the ball went in for once," said Dunleavy, who shot 7-of-9 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the line. "The difference in playing well and not playing well is putting the ball in the basket, and tonight, it went in."
Diogu's two free throws seconds later made it 92-77 before the Timberwolves made a late charge. They got to within 99-93 when rookie Rashad McCants made a steal that led to Davis' jumper with 97 seconds to go. McCants dunked a lob from Trenton Hassell with 32 seconds remaining to slice Minnesota's deficit to 102-97. Murphy then missed a pair of free throws, but Derek Fisher swiped the ball from Davis and hit 1-of-2 from the line for a six-point advantage with 25 seconds to go. Fisher collected 16 points and a career-high 13 assists and Murphy had 10 points and 17 rebounds for the Warriors, who played without second-leading scorer and top assist man Baron Davis. Baron Davis will miss up to a week of action with an ankle injury.
"We haven't given up. It's our responsibility to finish the season as if we have the best record in the Western Conference," Fisher said. "The ability is there and the talent is there. We have to continue to work hard and figure out ways to put wins together."
Golden State leading scorer Jason Richardson had an off-night, making just 5-of-16 from the field and scoring 15 points.
"Jason's been carrying us the last few ballgames," Diogu said. "He's been playing out of his mind, and today, his shots weren't really falling for him. Plus, we had (Baron Davis) out. Other guys had to step up, and that's what we had to do tonight."
"I think we have that ability on this team," Dunleavy said. "We have a lot of talented players, and when one or two guys are out, it's nice to have other guys step up, and we did that tonight."
Ricky Davis scored 29 points and Kevin Garnett added 20 and 17 rebounds for his 22nd straight double-double. But Garnett was held scoreless in the third quarter when Minnesota shot 7-of-21 (33 percent) from the floor, missed both of its free throws and scored just 14 points.
"Same story in the third quarter, we had a tough third quarter, execution-wise and scoring-wise," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said. "They went on a 14-point run. I think we had a lead almost every game on this road trip in the first half. In the third quarter, I don't know where we go to. We go stagnant in the third quarter."
The Timberwolves averaged 18.0 points in the third on the trip.