Timberwolves grind out win over Warriors 99-96; T-Wolves Towns hits two three pointers to edge Warriors

Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II (8) defends against Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (1) during the second quarter at Chase Center in San Francisco on Sun Mar 26, 2023 (AP News photo)

By Jerry Feitelberg

The game between the Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves felt like an NBA playoff game. Both teams played defense at a very high level. Neither team would give an inch. The players needed pads, but there are no pads in basketball. Draymond Green was on the receiving end of three flagrant fouls.

The smaller Warrior team had to find a way to contain Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and Naz Reid. The Warriors grinded out a slim 55-53 lead at the end of the first half. The Warriors had four players in double figures. Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole each had 12. Stephen Curry had ten, and Green had eleven. The Wolves point guard, Michael Conley, led his team with 12. Conley made four threes.

The Warriors wanted to extend the lead in the third quarter. In the past, Golden State blew teams away in the third period. That was not the case Sunday night. The Warriors’ offense went ice cold. The Wolves defense held them to 18 points. The Warriors had one field goal in the first six minutes and 22 seconds of the third quarter. The Warriors defense held the Wolves to 24 points, but they were trailing 77-73 heading into the fourth quarter. 

Minnesota raced out to a nine-point lead, 86-77. Poole and Gary Payton II helped the Warriors to a 10-2 run to get within a point of the lead 88-87. The Wolves’ Reid made a three, but a bucket by Kevon Looney and a Thompson three gave the Warriors the advantage 92-91.

Towns made a three to regain the lead for the Wolves, 94-93. Time was running down. Poole electrified the crown with a three to return the lead to the Warriors, 96-94. The Warriors needed to eliminate turnovers and stop fouling to win. Neither happened.

The Warriors turned the ball over, and Towns made another three to give the Wolves the lead 98-96 with 9.9 seconds left. The Warriors committed a foul, and Minnesota made a free throw. The W’s has 2.4 seconds left to make a three. Unfortunately for Golden State, they failed to score. The Wolves win 99-96.

Game Notes: The loss stopped the nine-game home winning streak and the modest three-game streak that started in Houston. The Warriors are now 39-37. The Wolves improved top 38-37. 

Poole led the Warriors with 27 points. Poole made three threes. Thompson made five threes and finished with 15 points. Thompson was five-for-17 from the floor.

Curry’s line was 20 points, six rebounds, and nine assists. Curry made four threes. Green had 12 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Green took a beating as Gobert’s fouls sent Green to the floor in a lot of pain.

Payton played his first game of the year for the Warriors. Payton, a fierce defender, received a standing ovation from the fans at the Chase Center when he entered the game in the second quarter. Payton played 15 minutes and knocked down nine points. His three-pointer from the corner in the fourth quarter helped the Warriors regain a brief lead in the fourth quarter. 

Reid, who had a career-high point game against the Warriors in Minnesota, led the Wolves with 23. Reid made three threes. Anthony Edwards had 13, Conly 12, and Towns 14.

Gobert had a double-double with ten points and 18 rebounds. Coming off the Wolves’ bench, Kyle Anderson finished with 12 points and ten rebounds. Anderson’s steal made a steal with 4.4 seconds left in the game to seal the win for Minnesota.

The Warriors host the New Orleans Pelicans at the Chase Center Tuesday night. The game will start at 7 pm.

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