Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 12/1

Game 1: Wednesday, December 1st
Game 2: Wednesday, March 2nd
Game 3: Wednesday, April 13th

Timberwolves 107

(9-5, 5-3 away)

Warriors 99

(3-11, 2-6 home)

    Coverage: FSBAY

    7:30 PM ET, December 1, 2004

    ORACLE Arena, Oakland, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    MIN 29 22 27 29107
    GS 27 27 30 1599

    Top Performers

    Min: S. Cassell 26 Pts, 11 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Blk

    GS: T. Murphy 25 Pts, 17 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Cassell, Garnett post double-doubles

    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 Wednesday night.

    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 Friday.

    "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 quarter.

    "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 together."

    Game notes

    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 franchise.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 107 99
    FGM-FGA 40-91 (.440) 40-87 (.460)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 8-18 (.444)
    FTM-FTA 23-25 (.920) 11-16 (.688)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-49 9-39
    Assists 25 24
    Turnovers 10 12
    Steals 6 5
    Blocks 6 4
    Fast Break Points 18 24
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 23 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 12 11

    Top Performers

    Golden State
    Sam Cassell Cassell
    Points: 26
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Troy Murphy Murphy
    Points: 25
    Reb: 17
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1