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Garnett's 33 points, 14 rebounds not enough

12/9/2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- For the first time in a decade, the Golden
State Warriors have a winning record at this point of the season.

Jason Richardson made a wide-open 3-pointer with two-tenths of a
second left, giving Golden State a 98-95 victory over the Minnesota
Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

"Long way to go -- it's just December," said Nick Van Exel, who
set up the winning shot.

Richardson had 30 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the
Warriors (10-9), who have a winning record after the 15-game mark
for the first time since 1993-94. They went 52-30 that season.

"You win and their superstar has a good game, it's a confidence
builder," said Golden State coach Eric Musselman, who watched
Minnesota's Kevin Garnett tie a season high with 33 points and grab
14 rebounds.

"That's a young team that has confidence and is playing well,"
said Garnett, who answered a one-handed baseline shot by Richardson
with a long jumper that put the Wolves up 95-93 with 1:13
remaining.

Van Exel's two free throws tied it, and Fred Hoiberg missed a
3-pointer on the other end for Minnesota. Golden State's Brian
Cardinal missed a jumper, but Richardson kept the ball alive and
the Warriors held for the final shot -- refusing to call timeout.

"We have great trust in our players," Musselman said.

Van Exel drove the lane and dished to Richardson on the wing.
After sinking his third 3, Richardson left his cocked wrist up high
for all to see and exchanged chest bumps with Van Exel and Calbert
Cheaney.

"Wide open shot like that with the game on the line -- I just
knew I had to make it," said Richardson, the Warriors' leading
scorer in his third season out of Michigan State.

The Wolves were howling for a foul on Richardson, who they felt
pushed Garnett as he leaped to grab Cardinal's miss.

"But you know, we didn't block him out either," Minnesota
coach Flip Saunders said.

Richardson insisted he was innocent.

"I didn't foul nobody," he said. "I went straight up. I
almost had a dunk."

Latrell Sprewell had 27 points, and Sam Cassell added 17 points
and 12 assists for the Wolves, who played their first home game in
nearly two weeks after going 4-1 on a Western Conference road trip.
They're just 4-5 at Target Center this season.

The Wolves had trouble defending the pick-and-roll and lacked
aggressiveness on offense. They went to the line 20 times, compared
to 29 for the Warriors.

"Hopefully we'll get it together and play the way we do on the
road," Sprewell said. "We're OK. It's not the end of the world."

Sprewell and Cassell have been excellent sidekicks to Garnett,
but they're playing more minutes than the team would like with the
absences of Troy Hudson, Wally Szczerbiak and Michael Olowokandi.

"I don't know what options we have right now," Saunders said.
"Until we get everyone back, that's what we're going to have to
be."

But the Warriors can play the injury excuse card, too, since
Troy Murphy and Evan Eschmeyer haven't played yet and Adonal Foyle
and Popeye Jones have each missed 16 games.

A snowstorm kept many fans from arriving on time, and the
Timberwolves did little early to excite the sedated crowd --
announced at 14,195.

Minnesota trailed by as many as 11 but surged out of the second
half with a 12-4 run to retake the lead, 62-61. A see-saw third
quarter ended on a 3-pointer by Cardinal, who cut Minnesota's lead
to 81-80.

Game notes
Murphy and Szczerbiak have the same injury -- foot soreness
that's caused by plantar fasciitis. Murphy might be able to begin
practicing in about a week. Szczerbiak's absence is indefinite. ...
Olowokandi missed his third straight game with right knee
tendinitis. A specialist in Colorado told him that surgery is an
option, but Olowokandi will rest and rehabilitate the knee for now.
... Cardinal had 17 points and is shooting 90.6 percent from the
foul line. ... The Warriors started a stretch in which they'll play
12 of 16 games on the road. ... Minnesota F/C Mark Madsen returned
after missing six games with back spasms.