It took an early 19-point deficit and one of their worst
defensive efforts of the season to do it, but they accomplished it
Reserve forward Draymond Green connected on a career-best four
3-pointers, including a critical right-corner jumper with 5:16 to
go, leading the Warriors to a 130-120 victory over the Minnesota
Timberwolves that clinched the sixth playoff spot.
The win was the 50th of the season for the Warriors, a first for the
franchise since 1993-94.
Several players, including Green and leading scorer Stephen Curry,
took time to celebrate it on the court with their coach, Mark
"It's his first 50-win season. We wanted to celebrate it with him,"
Curry said of the informal gathering in front of the bench shortly
after the final buzzer.
"You want to take that time to acknowledge it. He's been through a
lot this season. He has as much to do with (the 50 wins) as anyone
in this locker room."
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
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.
"It changes a lot," said Green, who played 38 minutes off the bench
Monday and figures to play a vital role in any playoff matchup. "We
have to have guys step up. We've done that all year."
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
Instead, the Warriors rallied from an early 19-point deficit on the
strength of 15 3-pointers to beat a team that put up 120 points on
The win was Golden State's first of the season in a game in which it
gave up more than 115 points in regulation.
"We're a great defensive team," Jackson insisted afterward. "That's
with whoever's on the floor."
Golden State's milestone 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 after Minnesota had closed to within 111-109.
The Timberwolves eventually got back within three on a 3-pointer by
Love with 2:35 to go. But the Warriors offense kept Minnesota at
arm's length, with power forward David Lee and Curry dropping in
three consecutive hoops — capped by Curry's seventh 3 — to re-open
a 10-point advantage inside the final two minutes.
[to top of second column]
"They shot the ball so well from 3," noted Timberwolves coach Rick
Adelman. "Four or five guys shot it well. You knew that they were
going to make a run eventually."
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.
Green had a second double-double for Golden State with a
career-high-tying 12 rebounds to go with his career-best 20 points.
Lee poured 25 points on 12-for-14 shooting, and shooting guard Klay
Thompson added another 20.
The Timberwolves' Love, who scored nine points in the first 82
seconds of the game and 22 overall in the first period, missed a
triple-double by one assist, recording 14 rebounds and nine assists
to complement his 40 points.
Center Gorgui Dieng added a double-double against the Bogut-less
club with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Minnesota's other three
starters — small forward Corey Brewer (22), point guard Ricky Rubio
(15) and shooting guard Kevin Martin (14) — also scored in double
The Timberwolves still have a chance to record a .500 season with
one game remaining at home Wednesday against Utah.
"We want to finish strong," Rubio assured. "Of course in the
beginning of the season we were thinking about playoffs. But
finishing at .500 is going to be something positive."
NOTES: The Warriors have won seven games this season when trailing
by 15 or more points at one point. ... The team's 15 3-pointers
brought the season total to 766, a franchise record. ... The win was
Mark Jackson's 120th for the Warriors, moving him past George
Senesky and into fourth place on the franchise's all-time list
behind Al Attles, Don Nelson and Ed Gottlieb. ... When Minnesota PF
Kevin Love hit three 3-pointers in the first 82 seconds of the game,
he was on pace to score 316 points. ... 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
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.