The Minnesota Timberwolves have been one of the NBA's worst fourth-quarter teams this season. Heading into Friday night's game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, the Wolves had lost all 11 of their games decided by four points or fewer. While that figure is not totally indicative of the team's late-game abilities — at least one game was decided by a bad call — it's not totally without meeting. The Wolves have simply not executed well with the game on the line.
Luckily for them, Kevin Martin ended their streak of close losses in the final seconds against Golden State. With the Warriors up 120-119 and 8.4 seconds on the clock, Martin lost the defending Klay Thompson following a handoff to a short pass to Kevin Love, received a pass back near the left corner, and drained a 20-footer to give the Wolves a one-point lead.
Stephen Curry found an open Harrison Barnes out of a double-team on the game's last possession, but Barnes's long two hit iron to give Minnesota the 121-120 win.
It's hard to say that Minnesota's luck has turned after just one late win, but their fourth-quarter performance did provide many reasons for optimism. Down 98-91 after three periods, the Wolves made it a one-possession game within minutes and grabbed the lead midway through the quarter, with Ricky Rubio later scoring his first fourth-quarter field goal since December 16. The Warriors fought back from a five-point deficit to retake the lead late, but Martin (26 points) proved the hero.
(Video via GIFD Sports)
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