MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- With the oversized television screen showing
the final seconds of Houston's win over Memphis, Minnesota's
Trenton Hassell jubilantly entered the locker room.
"That's ballgame, baby!" Hassell said, celebrating the
Grizzlies' loss that sustained -- for at least another two days --
the Timberwolves' slim chance of making the playoffs.
Kevin Garnett posted his first triple-double of a disappointing
season, finishing with 21 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists to
lead Minnesota to a 116-100 victory over Golden State on Wednesday
Staving off elimination in the Western Conference playoff race,
the Wolves must win their final four games and have the
eighth-place Grizzlies lose four straight to qualify for the
postseason. Minnesota plays at Utah on Friday, and Memphis visits
"We still have a chance," said Troy Hudson, who had 11 points
and seven assists.
Despite a few lulls, the Wolves came up with the kind of
performance expected of the team that advanced to the conference
finals last season and brought every key player back: good ball
movement, sharp shooting and an all-around effort by Garnett, last
season's league MVP.
"At this point, I'm just worried about wins," Garnett said.
This was his 17th career triple-double, the first since a
20-point, 22-rebound, 10-assist night against Denver in the first
round of the playoffs last April.
"Some days you have extra motivation, and some days you
don't," said Sprewell, one of several players whose consistent
effort has been questioned this season.
Selfish play has been another problem, causing interim coach
Kevin McHale to angrily criticize his team following Saturday's
loss to Atlanta -- the league's worst team. He was much more pleased
with Wednesday's outcome, even though the playoff picture is dire.
"You can't go back and undo what's happened," McHale said.
"You've got to just look forward."
Mickael Pietrus had 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting for the
long-ago-eliminated Warriors, who played their final road game of
the season. Golden State has run out of steam after an impressive
surge in which it won 11 of 12 -- this was its third straight loss.
"We're not giving up," said Jason Richardson, held to 10
points on 3-for-11 shooting. "We've just got to keep playing
With the midseason addition of point guard Baron Davis and
Richardson's emergence, the Warriors have become a dangerous team.
But defense remains a problem at this fast pace. They're 25th in
the league in points allowed and let Minnesota reach its
second-highest point total of the season.
"They allow you to get into the flow," Szczerbiak said. "They
like to get up and down the floor in transition and get some easy
baskets. That's what we kind of did to them."
The Wolves bridged a 20-9 run over the end of the first half and
the beginning of the second before letting Golden State back in it.
The Warriors cut the deficit to four points three times early in
the fourth quarter but couldn't get closer. After averaging 33
points over his last two games, Davis struggled to 10 points on
3-for-16 shooting. He was whistled for a technical foul at the end
of the first half for complaining.
"We would've needed to play perfectly," coach Mike Montgomery
said. "Baron wasn't making his shots, and J.R. not having a big
night puts us behind the 8-ball. In many ways, I was proud that we
kept bouncing back to keep ourselves in the game."
The Warriors brought only 10 players to the game because of
injuries to guards Derek Fisher (right foot inflammation) and
Calbert Cheaney (right ankle sprain). Fisher played 27 minutes on
Monday at Denver. ... Minnesota's Fred Hoiberg missed his second
straight game with back spasms. ... Sign of a relatively
meaningless game: Golden State's Adonal Foyle grinned as he bounced
balls into the seats during halftime warmups, giving delighted fans
a chance to throw him passes as he practiced post moves.
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