Kevin Martin was able to convert on a late jump-shot to push the Minnesota Timberwolves ahead of the Golden State Warriors, 121-120 Friday night.
Minnesota (21-21) came into Oakland looking to build on two straight wins over the lowly Utah Jazz, and were just able to pull this one off thanks to late game heroics from Martin and solid play from recently announced All Star game starter Kevin Love. Golden State (26-17) was in position to win the game late, but defensive lapses and a missed buzzer-beater attempt by Harrison Barnes lead the Warriors to their fifth loss in seven games since their 10 game winning streak.
The beginning of the first quarter generated feeling of deja-vu for Warrior’s fans, recalling recent slow defensive starts against both Denver and Indiana. Minnesota came out hot, shooting 59% from the field and scoring 36 points.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson had strong words for his team after the game. “We are not defending at a high level to start games…We’ve done a bad job, everybody on the floor…everyone in uniform has been bad defensively for us.”
A Kevin Martin fadeaway jumper with 8.4 seconds puts Minnesota up by one. The Warriors had a chance to answer, with Curry sending a beautiful left-handed pass to a wide open Harrison Barnes for a three that clanked off of the back iron to end the game.
Both Martin and Love finished the game with 26 points, but it was Martin who was the real stand-out, finishing on 10-17 shooting including 3-3 from behind the 3-point line.
“We’re falling asleep,” said Jackson. “There are times where one guy falls asleep and Kevin Martin hits a jumper…It’s not all game long, but it allows a team to establish a rhythm.”
In games decided by four points or less, Minnesota was 0-11 this season. They finally got over the hump with this win, and will look for four wins in a row at Portland Saturday night.
On the night after Steph Curry was named as a starting guard to Western Conference All-Star team, he looked to play the part against the playoff-hopeful Minnesota Timberwolves. He did not disappoint, finishing with 33 points and 15 assists. As good of a game Curry had, it wasn’t enough to overcome the collective consistency on defense. “It’s not winning basketball,” said Curry after the game.
The Warriors are set to play seven of their next ten games at home, starting with the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.
Timberwolves fans were surely holding their breath when All Star forward Kevin Love had to come out in the 3rd quarter favoring his right knee after landing awkwardly on a missed shot. The training staff immediately began to apply ice, and Love was able to return to the game mid-way through the 4th quarter.