Kendra AndrewsESPN3 minutes to read
SAN FRANCISCO – The Golden State Warriors have struggled to shutout games all season. And it felt like they were going to suffer the same fate Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With 26 seconds left and only five seconds left, Anthony Lamb turned the ball in a slow inside pass to allow their lead to three. Six seconds later, Klay Thompson turned the ball over.
But, unlike so many other times, they were able to put the clamps on the Timberwolves and pick up a 109-104 win.
“It was a win for the team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Everyone came out there and competed and played well…showing to get it done.”
According to Donte DiVincenzo, it all came off very seriously.
After stagnating in the first three quarters, the momentum of the game began to shift for Golden State with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter. Kerr called a timeout after Austin Rivers hit a three-pointer to put the Timberwolves up. What was said in this gathering completely changed the energies of the warriors.
“We had to keep our heads up,” said DiVincenzo. “We know when we lead by the ninth, we lead by 12, the game isn’t over for the other teams. They’re going to keep fighting, so that was the message during the timeout. There we were, within striking distance.”
The Warriors went on a 23-5 run after that timeout, including a monster 3-pointer by Thompson around the two-minute mark. Golden State outscored Minnesota 31-17 overall during that span.
Golden State also held Minnesota to just 2 of 8 in clutch time, including 0 of 5 on 3 point attempts. The Timberwolves had one look open at clutch time.
After hitting the shot, Thompson turned toward the Minnesota bench, yelling at them and jumping up and down. Thompson finished the night with 32 points on 12-of-23 shooting, including 6-of-14 from three. He also scored or assisted on nine of the Warriors’ 13 points in clutch time.
This comes on the heels of his 42-point performance in which he made 12 three-pointers and made two no-hits. He’s made 18 catches over his last two games — the second-most in two games of his career (19 earlier this month on Feb. 6 and 8).
“He’s a celebrity,” said DiVincenzo. “What he’s doing is not out of the ordinary. He’s had a hell of a career. Klay Thompson is still Klay Thompson at the end of the day. That edge is big at all times. And I love that.”
The Warriors had been relying more on Thompson for the last two games, as they were without Stephen Curry (left lower leg) and Draymond Green (right knee contusion). They also play without Andrew Wiggins as he deals with a family matter, as well as Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala.
DiVincenzo also added 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including 4 3-pointers, eight rebounds and four steals. Kevon Looney finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds (seven offensive boards). He grabbed double-digit rebounds in six consecutive games, a new career best.
With no clear timeline for the return of any of their absent players, getting the Timberwolves this win was a huge confidence boost. It also had a significant impact on the rankings.
Going into Sunday’s game, the Warriors and Timberwolves both have . 500 records and are tied for seventh and eighth in the tournament. With Golden State’s win, they now have a game-half advantage to finish seventh over the Utah Jazz and trail the sixth-place Dallas Mavericks by another half.
“I have to be aware,” Thompson said of observing the arrangement. “[A win like Sunday’s] huge. Every match counts, but especially from now on. West is crowded now. … Every match from now on is very important.”
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”