The Minnesota Timberwolves’ Big Three are peaking together at the right time.
Minnesota is returning to the Target Center after going 4-1 on a tough Western Conference road trip, which included back-to-back come-from-behind wins.
Garnett’s 20-foot jumper at the buzzer gave the Wolves a 96-94 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, one night after his consecutive 3-pointers led to an eventual 112-109 overtime win over the Sacramento Kings.
In Sunday’s triumph in Los Angeles, the Wolves went on a 28-11 run fueled by Cassell’s 15 points in the final 6:44. Garnett capped the rally with a jumper from the left wing over Elton Brand as time expired.
“We just hung around,” Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said. “We’ve won four of five on this trip because we haven’t lost our composure.”
On Saturday, Garnett had 33 points, a career-high 25 rebounds and six assists in the win over the Kings, who had been undefeated at home. Sprewell added a season-high 37 points and Cassell’s layup with 11.3 seconds remaining sealed the win.
Over the last five games, Garnett, Sprewell and Cassell are averaging 24.4, 24.6 and 24.0 points, respectively.
“Spree was killing them. Sam was killing,” Garnett said following the win over Sacramento. “The three-headed monster was big tonight.”
The Warriors, meanwhile, have won five of seven to reach .500.
Cardinal scored 15 of his points in the second half and Nick Van Exel added 15 as the Warriors used a 17-2 run in the fourth quarter to put the game away.
Coming off consecutive losses to Denver, and with six of their next seven games on the road, where they are just 1-5, the Warriors had to have a solid effort.
“We knew we had to have this game,” said Speedy Claxton, who had 11 points. “We can’t lose three in a row. … We’ve got to go on the road with a win and some confidence.”
STANDINGS (through Dec. 7): Warriors - 5th place, 7 GB, Pacific Division. Timberwolves - 4th place, 1 GB, Midwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Warriors - Richardson, 18.4 ppg; Dampier, 13.6 rpg; Van Exel, 6.2 apg. Timberwolves - Garnett, 23.4 ppg and 14.3 rpg; Cassell, 7.2 apg.
2002-03 SEASON SERIES: Timberwolves, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Feb. 16; Timberwolves, 109-102. At Minnesota, Garnett had 37 points, 22 rebounds, six assists and five blocks as the Timberwolves tied a franchise record with their 12th consecutive home victory.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Warriors - 1-5 on the road; Timberwolves - 4-4 at home.
INJURIES: Warriors - F Popeye Jones (knee); C Evan Eschmeyer (knee); F Troy Murphy (foot); C Adonal Foyle (knee). Timberwolves - C Michael Olowokandi (knee); G Troy Hudson (ankle); G-F Wally Szczerbiak (foot).