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Warriors 130, Timberwolves 120

The SportsXchange

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Reserve forward Draymond Green connected on a career-best four 3-pointers, including a critical right-corner jumper with 5:16 to go Monday night, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 130-120 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves that clinched the sixth playoff spot.

The Warriors, who recorded a first-round playoff upset of Denver as the 6-seed a year ago, will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Oklahoma City Thunder in the first-round, best-of-7 series.

One Clippers loss in their final two games or a Thunder win in its regular-season finale would set up the Golden State-Los Angeles matchup.

No matter who they play, the Warriors learned earlier in the day that they will go into the series without starting center Andrew Bogut, who has been diagnosed with a broken rib suffered in last Thursday's loss to Denver. The club's best defensive big man likely is out for the season.

Without Bogut, the Warriors offered little defensive resistance against the Timberwolves, who entered the game 40-40, needing to win their final two games to post their first winning season since 2004-05.

Instead, the Warriors rallied from an early 19-point deficit on the strength of 48.5-percent shooting and 15 3-pointers.

Golden State's 50th win came despite a 40-point performance by Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love.

Green's fourth 3 on a 20-point night might have been his most important. It came with 5:16 to go after Minnesota had closed to within 111-109.

The Timberwolves eventually got back within three on a 3-pointer by Love with 2:38 to go. But the Warriors offense kept Minnesota at arm's length, with power forward David Lee and point guard Stephen Curry dropped in consecutive hoops that re-opened a 123-116 advantage inside the final two minutes.

Curry led the Warriors (50-31) with 32 points, more than half of which came on 7-for-13 shooting from 3-point range. He also found time for a game-high 15 assists.

Lee had 25 points on 12-for-14 shooting, and shooting guard Klay Thompson matched Green's point total with 20.

Love missed a triple-double by one assist, recording 14 rebounds and nine assists to complement his 40 points for the Timberwolves.

Center Gorgui Dieng also recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Minnesota's three other starters -- small forward Corey Brewer (22), point guard Ricky Rubio (15) and shooting guard Kevin Martin (14) -- also scored in double figures.

The Timberwolves, who still have a chance to record a .500 season with one game remaining at home against Utah, shot 53.8 percent in the game.

The action was fast and furious from the get-go, with Minnesota igniting the initial fireworks.

Love exploded out of the blocks with three 3-pointers in the first 88 seconds of the game, prompting a quick Warriors timeout at a time when the Timberwolves star was on pace to score 295 points.

Minnesota scored 16 of the game's first 18 points and was up 15, 19-4, before the Warriors began their gradual comeback.

Golden State's biggest flurry came in a 34-second span late in the second quarter that began with Minnesota up 55-44. Green hit a 3-pointer and Curry buried a pair consecutively, accounting for a 9-0 flurry that made it a two-point game.

After scoring the first basket of the game, the Warriors never led again until the eighth minute of the third period, when Green dropped in a layup for a 87-86 advantage.

NOTES: The Warriors played a majority of their first-round playoff series last season short-handed as PF David Lee tore his right hip flexor in Game 1 against Denver and played just one minute the rest of the six-game series. ... Warriors backup C Festus Ezeli, who has missed the entire regular season following knee surgery, has been doing one-on-one workouts and might return at some point in the postseason. ... The top three coaches on the Warriors' all-time win list are Al Attles, Don Nelson and Ed Gottlieb. ... The Timberwolves, who have just the 10th-best record in the West, would already have clinched a playoff berth in the East. They went 17-13 against Eastern teams this season. ... Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman entered Monday's game with a 52-29 career against Warriors, for whom he coached two seasons. He has beaten only two teams more often in his NBA coaching career: the Los Angeles Clippers (63) and Denver (56). ... Before the game, Adelman weighed in on the Andrew Bogut injury, saying, "That's going to hurt them because he's kind of their anchor defensively, and with him and Jermaine (O'Neal), they had two pretty good guys there."
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