MINNEAPOLIS (AP)—With the biggest collapse in a franchise history full of them still fresh in their minds, the Minnesota Timberwolves finally figured out how to close a game.
Three days after surrendering a 29-point lead in the final 22 minutes of a loss to Dallas, Al Jefferson had 32 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves to a 115-108 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
“Don’t talk about Dallas. I still have nightmares about that one,” said guard Randy Foye, who had 17 points and seven assists. “I was happy we got the win.”
“We’re just happy to get one game, no matter three out of the last five,” Foye said.
Golden State was playing without starting forward Brandan Wright, who missed the game with a sprained wrist. The team also hoped to have Corey Maggette back from a hamstring injury, but he missed his 15th straight game.
The Wolves led this one by seven at the start of the fourth and were able to increase the lead with a 10-3 run that Jefferson ended with a layup for a 101-89 lead with 6:21 to play.
“We couldn’t handle Iron Man,” Warriors coach Don Nelson said. “I just watched the movie with my grandkids. That’s who he reminds me of. He had his way with us.”
Given the Wolves’ struggles at holding leads, this was far from over. They led 70-41 early in the third quarter against Dallas on Tuesday before losing 107-100. In their last game against Golden State, the Wolves led by 10 points in the final 7 minutes, but the Warriors closed with a 27-7 run to win it in overtime.
Jackson’s jumper from just inside the 3-point line cut Minnesota’s lead to seven points with 3:16 to play. But this time Jefferson hit a couple of free throws and Foye hit a big 3-pointer to keep the Warriors at a comfortable distance.
“It was a good bounce-back win after the tough second half in Dallas,” coach Kevin McHale said. “I was proud of the guys that they came back and fought hard.”
The Warriors have had plenty of struggles of their own. They endured a nine-game losing streak earlier in the year and lost 14 of 16 at one point.
Golden State has beaten Boston, Denver and Portland this year, but has now lost to Oklahoma City and Minnesota in back-to-back games.
“These are games that we should win, I feel that we should win, and we’re not winning them,” Jackson said. “We have a lot of work to do. Guys have to kind of look themselves in the mirror to figure out what we have to do together to win these games, especially on this road trip.”
They entered the night first in the league in blocks and tied for first in second-chance points, third in points in the paint and fourth in offensive rebounds.
But Minnesota outscored Golden State 52-42 in the paint, 17-16 in second-chance points, 23-5 in transition and held a 17-10 edge on the offensive glass.
“We’ve got to try and get some consistency going. Guys have to grow up fast,” Jackson said. “Guys have to get their stuff going and stop looking at the next person to do this. Everybody has to be accountable.
“Coaches are doing everything they can to get us ready and prepared. We’ve got to stop looking at the coaches for answers. We’ve got to go out there and play and get the job done.”
Exiled Knicks guard, and former Timberwolf, Stephon Marbury attended the game and even sat in on the local television broadcast in the second quarter. Marbury is a cousin of Wolves G Sebastian Telfair. … Nelson said Maggette was “rusty” in practice on Thursday and is still feeling some discomfort in his hamstring.