Wolves Edge Warriors
Timberwolves 126 (14-46) – Warriors 123 (26-32) | Target Center
How it happened:
In a game featuring 11 players in double figures and 249 total points poured in; surprisingly, it was a defensive effort that sealed the victory for Minnesota.
With 17.1 seconds remaining and the ball in Monta Ellis’ hands, the Wolves clinged to a 124-123 lead. Ellis used his quick first step to drive all the way to the bucket, but only to be stopped by a Wesley Johnson block that sent an uproar of triumph throughout the Target Center. Golden State proceeded to foul Anthony Tolliver, where the Wolves forward calmly knocked down both free-throws to extend the lead to three. With one final chance to send the frantic game into overtime, the Warriors attempted to inbound the ball to their three-point assassin, Stephen Curry. But again, it was the lengthy Wesley Johnson who clamped down defensively and denied the entry pass to end a seven game skid.
Leader of the Pack:
Kevin Love’s performance tonight is any NBA fantasy owner’s dream. With 37 points and 23 rebounds, Love recorded his fourth 30/20 game this season, while extending his double-double streak to 46 straight games.
Love scored incredibly efficient tonight on just 8-of-13 shooting from the floor, while going 18-of-23 from the line which matches franchise records of both makes and attempts from the charity stripe.
Love was able to control the paint with his relentlessness around the basket, dominating the Warriors undersized frontline. The first time All-Star found opportunities to use his size and strong footwork to help dominate a game-changing third quarter for the Wolves. Love recorded 14 points and 9 rebounds to help Minnesota roll over Golden State 35-16 in the third quarter alone.
Wesley Johnson found his stroke early and continued to drill looks from downtown throughout the night. Johnson played his role perfectly with 17 points and 7 rebounds, while hitting four three-pointers that always seemed to spark essential momentum for the Wolves. By stopping the Warriors single-handedly in crucial possessions down the stretch, Johnson proved his worth on both ends of the floor tonight.
As Michael Beasley mentioned after Friday night’s offensive struggle that he must keep shooting and go back to the basics; tonight, he was a man of his word. Beasley took advantage of the smaller Dorell Wright by demanding the rock posted up on the extended right block. Beasley used his length and great body control to score in bunches for Minnesota. It was nice to see the forward regain his swagger by recording 25 points and 9 rebounds.
The Numbers Game:
The Wolves sank 12 three-pointers on the night, improving their record to 7-1 when Minnesota hits 11 or more from beyond the arc.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will hope to continue their strong play at home against the defending champions of the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. With clutch play from Kobe Bryant, the Lakers were able to close out Oklahoma City 90-87 earlier today.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.