Timberwolves beat Warriors to end 3-game slide

Associated Press Modified: March 20, 2012 at 1:16 am •  Published: March 20, 2012
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Love is on the cusp of becoming the greatest rebounder in Minnesota history.

Getting the Timberwolves into the playoffs for the first time in eight years would be an even sweeter accomplishment for team's veteran forward.

Love banked in a 16-foot jumper with 4 minutes left, then added an insurance tip-in off a miss by J.J. Barea to help Minnesota keep its dimming postseason hopes alive with a 97-93 win over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

"Down the stretch is where we won the game," said Love, who finished with 36 points and 17 rebounds for his 39th double-double of the season. "We executed, got big stops and made plays."

Luke Ridnour added 11 points and 10 assists, while Anthony Tolliver scored 10 points off the bench, all in the fourth quarter for the Timberwolves.

Minnesota (23-24) snapped a three-game losing streak with the win and moved within 1 1/2 games of Houston for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

The Timberwolves haven't been in the playoffs since going in as the top seed in the West in 2003-04. They've had only one winning season in the last seven years and had dropped five of six before holding off Golden State.

"They made their runs at us in the third and fourth quarter and we responded," Minnesota coach Rick Adelman said. "We've been kind of folding in that point and we just kept talking about getting stops and (executing) at the other end."

Love finished three rebounds shy of his seventh career 30-point, 20-rebound game, which would have been a franchise record. As it was, the 6-foot-10 forward inched closer to passing Kevin Garnett for the most rebounds in team history. He needs just 11 to break Garnett's mark of 1,139.

Minnesota needed all of them to hold off a pesky Golden State team which is winless in four games since trading leading scorer Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

"When we have Kevin Love with 36 and 17, it's really hard to beat us," said Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams, who went 2 of 9 from the floor but had 11 rebounds. "We had to get this one."

David Lee had 25 points and nine rebounds for Golden State, which remained winless since trading leading scorer Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

The Warriors (18-25) scored just 14 points in the first quarter, but led 85-84 after Nate Robinson's 15-foot jumper with 5:34 left.

Tolliver answered with a 3-pointer before Love banked in his long jumper.

After Lee made one of two free-throw attempts for Golden State, Love tipped in Barea's missed layup. Tolliver later scored on a soaring dunk down the middle to seal the win for the Timberwolves.

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