MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—The Minnesota Timberwolves have struggled all season long to win close games.
Sunday was an exception.
Minnesota, which won for the first time in five overtime games, is now 2-9 in one possession games. The other win was Feb. 6 at Phoenix when Kevin Garnett scored with 31.9 seconds remaining and blocked Shawn Marion at the buzzer.
“This means we’re growing,” said Marcus Banks who scored 24 points to lead Minnesota, which had all five starters score in double figures. “A couple of games ago we couldn’t do anything as far as closing out a game. Now we’re starting to put this thing together and looking forward to the future.”
Fisher cut Minnesota’s lead to 103-102 on a driving layup with 12.5 seconds remaining, before Davis made two foul shots with 12 seconds left. Fisher then made two free throws with 7.8 seconds to play to close the gap to 105-104. Davis added another free throw before Richardson missed an open 26-footer at the buzzer. It was the third straight game he missed a shot late that would have tied or won the game.
Friday against Sacramento he wildly missed a 3-pointer before the buzzer and the Kings won by three. Wednesday against New Orleans/Oklahoma City his shot with 7.7 seconds left was blocked by Rasual Butler, and the Hornets won 86-85.
“I didn’t realize how far from the basket I was when I got the ball,” he said. “I was surprised I got that wide open.”
Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said Justin Reed was supposed to be guarding Richardson, but got blocked on a screen.
Richardson had a play designed for him to win the game at the end of regulation.
He found himself matched one-on-one against Garnett near midcourt. With 5 seconds to go, Richardson drove the lane before kicking the ball to Fisher, who missed a 3-pointer.
“I thought was a great chance to get a great shot at the foul line,” said Warriors coach Mike Montgomery.
Fisher’s attempt was one of a season-high 39 Golden State had from beyond the arc.
“We got real 3-point happy when they went to the zone,” said coach Mike Montgomery. “We should have had the presence of mind to drive the ball.”
Casey said Minnesota’s defense contributed largely to the long range lack of success.
“We contested most of them,” he said. “If they shoot 40 percent on that many 3’s you’re in trouble.”
The Warriors led 32-21 after the opening quarter. Richardson had 16 points, capped by a dunk with 1.5 seconds left after a long pass from Andris Biedrins.
A jumper by Richardson put Golden State up 42-31 three minutes into the second quarter, before Minnesota went on a 23-9 run the rest of the half, including 10 of the final 12 points.
The Warriors committed 10 second-quarter turnovers, which led to 14 Minnesota points.
A steal and layup by Banks gave Minnesota a 50-49 lead with 1:18 to play, its first lead since 2-0. Banks then scored on two layups before Mickael Pietrus scored on a jumper for Golden State with 3.9 seconds left in the half.
Minnesota was 1-for-11 in the first eight minutes of the third quarter as the Warriors opened a 66-61 lead before making four straight shots for a 70-66 lead with 1:50 remaining.
“These games that you win you learn from.” Garnett said. “It’s just that a learning lesson. It builds confidence and character, and hopefully we can carry it over.”
Minnesota’s Trenton Hassell returned to action after missing five games with a sprained left ankle and sprained left knee. He was scoreless in 13:56. … Richardson made four 3-pointers to surpass Tim Hardaway (1994-95) for the single-season Golden State record of 170. … Garnett recorded his 30th straight points/rebounds double-double, the NBA’s longest streak in 23 years.