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Warriors 106, Timberwolves 98

The SportsXchange

MINNEAPOLIS -- Friday night Golden State did pretty much the same thing to the Minnesota Timberwolves that Charlotte had done in a two-point victory Wednesday.

After a slow start, the Warriors took a big lead. The Wolves woke up late, made it a game, but ultimately the Warriors held on for a 106-98 victory.

It was the second straight victory for Golden State (5-4), and its third straight over the Timberwolves. Six Warriors players scored in double figures, including two off the bench. Golden State got 18 points each from rookie Harrison Barnes and David Lee, 17 from Stephen Curry and 15 from Carl Landry.

The Timberwolves, who lost at home for the second time in three days, got 22 points off the bench from rookie Alexey Shved, 23 from Derrick Williams, 18 from Andrei Kirilenko and 14 from Dante Cunningham.

Just like Wednesday, a Wolves team that appeared to be out of the game came alive late. Friday, it started with just under eight minutes to go.

The Warriors led 90-76 when Williams hit two free throws. After a Golden State turnover, Cunninghim scored. Barnes scored at the other end, but Cunningham scored again and, after the Warriors turned the ball over on the in-bounds pass, Kirilenko hit a 3-pointer with 6:05 left to draw the Wolves within 92-85.

Willians blocked a Landry shot, then Cunningham hit again. Curry missed at one end and Shved scored at the other.

Curry scored to make it 94-89 Warriors, but then he fouled out moments later on Cunningham's drive to the hoop. With 2:49 left, Cunningham made two free throws to cut the lead to three. The Wolves were on an 11-4 run, with Cunningham getting eight of those points.

But, again, the rally came up short. The Wolves couldn't get closer.

Lee scored on a spin move, then Luke Ridnour made one of two free throws for Minnesota. Barnes then scored to put Golden State in control for good.

Golden State shot 50.6 percent, had a 58-20 edge in points in the paint and a 21-15 edge in second-chance points.

The Wolves were playing without six of their top players; the team announced the signing of veteran free agent Josh Howard Friday morning.

Still, Minnesota got off to a good start, building a 27-22 first-quarter lead. The lead grew to 44-32 on Cunningham's 20-foot jumper midway through the second quarter.

From then well into the fourth quarter it was pretty much all Golden State. The Warriors finished the half with a 21-6 run to take a 53-50 halftime lead.

And the third quarter went pretty much the same way. Williams got the first basket of the period, but the Warriors responded with an 8-0 run. After Greg Stiemsma scored to make it 61-54, the Warriors went on another run. By the time the third quarter ended the Warriors had outscored the Wolves 50-25 since the Wolves had built their first-half 12-point lead and Golden State had an 82-69 lead entering the fourth quarter.

In a back-and-forth first half both teams appeared to be in control at times.

First the Wolves: Minnesota started Friday's game with the same energy it had at the end of Wednesday's last-second loss, and the two teams displayed strikingly different approaches as the Wolves build a five-point lead after one quarter.

The Wolves got 13 points from Williams and nine from Kirilenko; they combined to score 22 of Minnesota's 27 points. Golden State, meanwhile, had seven players score, but none more than four points.

With Shved leading a productive, if short, Wolves bench -- he had 12 second-quarter points -- Minnesota's lead grew to 44-32 on Cunningham's second basket midway through the second quarter.

But Lee got two free throws and then a put-back, Barnes scored twice and Landry got a dunk in a 10-2 run that pulled the Warriors within 46-44 with less than three minutes left in the half.

The Wolves stretched the lead back to four, but Golden State closed the half on a 7-0 run to take its halftime lead.

The Warriors were clearly in control heading into the third quarter. Williams had 15 points by halftime while Shved had 12 for Minnesota. Lee and Landry each had 10 points for the Warriors, and Klay Thompson had eight.

NOTES: Howard, signed to the veteran minimum by a Wolves team decimated by injuries, said time will tell how his surgically-repaired knee will hold up. "I've been doing stuff to rehab, doing everything to get it back to where I want it to be," he said. Howard was signed mainly to provide some relief for Kirilenko at small forward ... The Wolves were again without center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) and guards Brandon Roy (sore right knee) and J.J. Barea (mid-foot sprain). All three are expected back for the Wolves' next game Wednesday.
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