OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves are aware most
opponents won't give them nearly this much time to beat them.
Sam Cassell had 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, and
the Timberwolves rallied in the fourth quarter for their third
straight victory, 107-99 over the Golden State Warriors on
Kevin Garnett had 17 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists for
the Timberwolves, who fell behind in the second quarter and didn't
take over until the waning minutes.
That's fine against the lowly Warriors, who wilted in their 11th
loss in 14 games -- but tougher teams won't be as easy to catch. The
Wolves' four-game road trip continues at league-leading Phoenix on
"We had a nice rhythm going, and then we fell apart," said
Garnett, who also blocked three shots. "It took until the fourth
quarter to get our rhythm going again, and we finally did that."
Exactly seven years after he choked former Golden State coach
P.J. Carlesimo following a practice with the Warriors, Latrell
Sprewell scored 15 points for Minnesota.
The Warriors, who lost their third straight, led 91-87 with
eight minutes left before Minnesota scored nine straight points.
After Mickael Pietrus threw down a dramatic dunk over Eddie Griffin
with 1:58 left to cut Minnesota's lead to one point, Garnett hit a
jumper and Wally Szczerbiak made a three-point play.
Coach Flip Saunders saw both poise and disorganization from his
team, strong defensive play coupled with poor shot selection. He
compared the fourth-quarter effort to that of a counterpunching
boxer who capitalizes on his opponent's mistakes.
"Whenever we executed our offense, we got a good shot," said
Saunders, who coached his 700th game. "Our defense was shaky at
times. We explore a little bit too much at times."
Troy Murphy had 25 points and 17 rebounds for the Warriors, who
scored just six points in a key eight-minute span of the fourth
quarter. Jason Richardson added 21 points and seven assists in one
of the Warriors' better games of the season -- but it wasn't nearly
enough to beat an elite team.
"They just hit shots and made big plays," said Murphy, who hit
a career-best three 3-pointers. "They hit some 3s and we were not
able to get back into it. They played in a lot of close games down
deep in the playoffs, and hopefully someday we can be like them."
Szczerbiak scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, who spent
three days in Northern California following their win over
Sacramento last Sunday night to kick off a four-game road trip.
During that time, the Warriors lost back-to-back games against
the Clippers. Golden State has beaten only Charlotte, Chicago and
New Orleans this season.
"They wouldn't go away," said Cassell, who tied his career
high in rebounds. "They just kept coming. We pride ourselves in
executing down the stretch, and that's what we did tonight."
The Warriors took the lead with a 21-4 run in the first half,
then held it until the final minutes. Pietrus had 12 points in a
reserve role, but went 2-for-7 from the field in the fourth
"We played a playoff team tonight and we had a great game,"
Pietrus said. "If we play like that all season, we are going to be
fine. We just have to stick together and bring the energy
Nine members of the San Francisco 49ers, including
linebacker Jamie Winborn and cornerback Mike Rumph, attended the
game in a suite. Oakland Athletics outfielder Eric Byrnes also was
in the arena. ... Pietrus hit a 3-pointer with seven-tenths of a
second left in the third quarter. ... Saunders is just the eighth
coach in NBA history to coach his first 700 games for one