Golden State 111, Minnesota 98

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 19 (AP) -- Al Harrington and the Golden State Warriors had the Minnesota Timberwolves pegged perfectly. They just needed a halftime gut check to get going.

Harrington scored 25 points, including 14 in the decisive third quarter, and the Warriors ran to an 111-98 victory on Wednesday night during another second-half fade by the fledgling Timberwolves.

"I played on a team like this before,'' said Harrington, comparing the 2004-05 Atlanta Hawks, who went 13-69, to the current group in Minnesota.

"When you're a young team, you come out with a lot of energy and start making shots,'' he said. "But when a veteran team decides to shut you down on defense, you lose your confidence, and that's what we had to do. Once we did that, I felt that we had a good chance at winning.''

Monta Ellis added 24 points, and Stephen Jackson had 20 for Golden State, which has overcome an 0-6 start to jump back in the conference race. After last season's late surge and upset of the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs, the Warriors have a higher standard.

They were mad about the 62-54 halftime deficit, even after closing the second quarter with a 10-4 run.

"Everybody had something to say,'' Harrington said. "For us to be the team we want to be, we can't lose these games. No disrespect to them, but they're the worst team in the league. We feel that we're one of the top 10 teams in the league.''

Rashad McCants, reinserted in the starting lineup while Marko Jaric was home fighting the flu, had 23 points for Minnesota (3-21), which is off to the worst start in the franchise's 19 seasons.

Al Jefferson added 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Gerald Green took advantage of the injuries and illnesses to score a season-high 18 points in a season-high 30 minutes.

The Wolves led by as many as 14 in the first half, before the Warriors -- who improved to 14-5 since Jackson's season-opening seven-game suspension ended -- stung them with a 37-17 third quarter. Jackson's fast-break layup gave Golden State the lead at 69-68 for good, and for the first time since 21-20.

Coach Randy Wittman was furious afterward.

"They came out and threw a punch. Until we can receive a punch and throw back, we're going to have repeats like that,'' Wittman said.

With Jaric, guard Greg Buckner (calf) and forward Antoine Walker (ankle) unavailable in addition to Theo Ratliff (knee) and Randy Foye (knee), Wittman had 10 players at his disposal. He used only eight, and Chris Richard played just five minutes.

After a series of trades, including the big one that sent Kevin Garnett to Boston, the Timberwolves were left with an extremely inexperienced roster. There's talent here, but it takes more than that to win.

Wittman said he's "begging'' for leaders to emerge. He complained about his team's body language and lamented that, during the first timeout of the third quarter, he couldn't see any of his players' eyes.

"And I was right there in front of 'em,'' he said.

Jefferson balked at a question about whether the Wolves had any leaders. They do, he said.

"The guys on the court just got to come together and be like, 'Let's attack back. Let's stop 'em.' Because we do this a lot,'' he said.

McCants had 13 points in the first quarter, including three wide-open 3-pointers. In the second quarter the Timberwolves went to Jefferson, who pulled out his wide array of moves for 13 points in the period.

The Warriors woke up, and the Wolves wore down after that. Down 91-79 after the third-quarter collapse, they essentially had no chance. They're 0-14 when trailing entering the final 12 minutes.

"The lads decided at halftime that they didn't want to lose this game tonight,'' Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "There was determination with the guys that were out there. It was just terrific.''

Notes: Ellis hit his head on the court late in the game while falling after missing a contested fast-break layup, but he was OK. ... Wolves rookie Corey Brewer, whose jumper has been a work in progress throughout his career, had the NBA's worst field-goal shooting percentage, 29.4 as of Monday, for players with a minimum of 100 attempts. Brewer had 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting. ... McCants is 27-for-62 from behind the arc this month (44 percent), but the rest of the team is just 22-for-105 (21 percent).


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