Warriors 97, Timberwolves 90
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Erick Dampier hopes he made a case for making the All-Star game.
The 6-foot-11 center recorded his 23rd double-double with 21 points and 19 rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors spoiled Kevin Garnett’s triple-double and snapped Minnesota’s five-game winning streak with a 97-90 victory Wednesday night.
Coaches will vote for the All-Star reserves in each conference, with ballots going out Thursday. Warriors coach Eric Musselman spent some time before the game calling his fellow coaches to campaign for Dampier.
“It’ll make coaches pay more attention to the game I played tonight,” Dampier said of Musselman’s gesture. “I just went out there and played. It was my last game before the (All-Star starters) come out, so I just wanted to have a good a game.”
Garnett had his second triple-double of the season with 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists. He also added three blocked shots and a steal.
Latrell Sprewell scored nine of his 27 points in the third quarter for the Timberwolves, who fell a half-game behind Sacramento for the best record in the Western Conference. Sprewell converted only one of two free throws with 1:02 left, then missed a 3-pointer to tie it with 30 seconds on the clock.
“The most disappointing thing was coming out here and getting outworked,” Sprewell said.
The Warriors have won both meetings with Minnesota this season after the Timberwolves took three of four last season.
All five Golden State starters scored in double figures, and Brian Cardinal added 21 points and nine rebounds off the bench in another inspired effort by the player who surprised the team during training camp.
“Cardinal killed us again,” Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. “They were more aggressive in everything they did. We’ve been out of character the last few games with our turnovers.”
The Timberwolves shot only 38.6 percent and committed 15 turnovers.
Dampier made a putback with 2:42 remaining to make it 88-85, then made three of four free throws in the final 1:34.
The Warriors, who snapped a 12-game road losing streak with a 105-87 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, pulled within 74-73 on a free throw by Cardinal with 8:37 left. Minnesota’s Troy Hudson was hurt on the play, coming down on Cardinal’s foot and aggravating a right ankle injury that sidelined him for most of the season. He’ll be reevaluated Thursday.
A nasty fight broke out in the stands just behind the courtside seats between the third and fourth quarters. Two men threw punches and one of them spat at people as security tried to restrain him. Several security guards from other parts of the arena ran in to assist.
Beer flew onto the court and the game was held up because of it. The man was arrested and booed loudly as he was taken away in handcuffs. Several other men also were kicked out minutes later.
Both Warriors big men, Dampier and Cliff Robinson, are ailing. Coach Eric Musselman didn’t even expect Robinson to play because of back spasms, and Dampier has swelling in his left knee.
Robinson had four points and three rebounds in 25 minutes and battled foul trouble.
Golden State has been struggling to have enough players to practice. Neither Robinson nor Dampier has been practicing. Forward Troy Murphy is out with an ankle injury and point guard Nick Van Exel is on the injured list with left knee inflammation.
Neither team found much of an offensive rhythm early, with Golden State shooting 41 percent to Minnesota’s 35.4 percent to take a 45-42 halftime lead. The Timberwolves kept the game close by going hard to the offensive glass andgrabbing 11 offensive rebounds in the first half.
Musselman on Dampier: “He’s done a great job all season long and has been consistent. He’s had a good attitude since the first day of training camp and is doing everything we’ve asked of him. … He’s a key component if you want your team to be good defensively.” … The Timberwolves were averaging 105.8 points per game over their previous 10 meetings with the Warriors. … Minnesota’s Sam Cassell was whistled for a technical with 6:04 left in the third for pushing Cardinal and arguing—a rare display for the typically laid-back guard. Cassell fouled out with 1:34 left. With Hudson already out, that left the Timberwolves without a point guard in crunch time. “It was verytough,” Garnett said. “Sam and Huddy are our quarterbacks.”