W's seek sixth win over T-Wolves in last seven tries


W's seek sixth win over T-Wolves in last seven tries

March 13, 2011

MINNESOTA (41-24) at
WARRIORS (28-36)

Coverage begins at 6 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

OAKLAND (AP) -- The Minnesota Timberwolves aren't going to the playoffs while the Golden State Warriors' postseason hopes remain slim

That hasn't stopped either team from playing hard.

Looking to avoid their sixth loss in seven games to the Warriors, the Timberwolves will try for a season-best third consecutive win overall Sunday night.

Minnesota (17-50), which hasn't won three straight since a four-game run Jan. 29-Feb. 6, 2010, had lost 11 of 14 before recording the second of back-to-back wins, 122-101 over Utah on Friday.

"This means something for us, especially at this time of the year," said Darko Milicic, who had 14 points and six rebounds. "It's almost the end of the season and we're kind of a struggling team that's not going to make the playoffs. We all know that. We know we're going to go home April 13."

The Timberwolves sit in 14th place in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Warriors are in 12th place and remain six games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot with 17 games to go.

Golden State (29-36) has not been to the postseason since 2006-07, and entered play Friday having dropped of seven of nine - a stretch that included a 126-123 loss at Minnesota on Feb. 27.

The Warriors found themselves down by 21 against Orlando, but rallied for a 123-120 overtime victory thanks in large part to a franchise-best 21 3-pointers - the third-most in NBA history - on 60.0 percent shooting from long distance.

"(The) team showed a lot of pride and heart going out there playing against one of these elite teams in the NBA," said swingman Dorell Wright, who finished with eight 3-pointers and tied a career high with 32 points.

Monta Ellis, in the top 10 in the league with 25.0 points per game, went a career-best 7 of 9 from 3-point range, and finished with 39 points and 11 assists.

"We'll shock some people and win some big games like this," coach Keith Smart said. "But it's still a process to where we can grow this team to where we have a legitimate, contending team every year."

The Timberwolves know all too well about Wright's ability to shoot from beyond the arc, as he made a career-best nine 3s and scored 30 points in Golden State's 104-94 road win on Nov. 27.

Wright, scoring a career-high 16.2 points per game, is averaging 22.7 against the Timberwolves this season - the second-most against any opponent.

Minnesota had lost five straight to the Warriors by an average of 15.0 points prior last month's win in which Kevin Love registered 37 points and 23 rebounds.

Love, averaging 23.7 points and 19.6 rebounds versus Golden State in 2010-11, extended the longest double-double streak since 1973-74 to 53 consecutive games with 24 points and 12 rebounds Friday.

Minnesota is averaging 105.6 points in its last eight games and has won the last two by an average of 23.5.

"We've been playing good basketball, I'll tell you that much," said Love. "Always defense has to come first and we have to get stops on that end, but if we can move the ball and everybody can contribute and we can play out there and have fun in this system, that's how we can click and thats how it can work."

Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


Walton wins debut as Lakers finish off Rockets


LOS ANGELES -- Jordan Clarkson scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Los Angeles Lakers won coach Luke Walton's debut, holding off the Houston Rockets 120-114 on Wednesday night.

D'Angelo Russell scored 20 points and Julius Randle added 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the young Lakers, who got off to an exciting start in the franchise's first season without Kobe Bryant since 1995.

With a revamped roster coming off the worst season in the 16-time champion team's history, Los Angeles surged in the fourth quarter of an auspicious opener under Walton, the 36-year-old former Lakers forward.

James Harden had 34 points, a career-high 17 assists and eight rebounds for the Rockets, who lost in former Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni's debut on the Houston bench.

The Lakers played an up-tempo, aggressive offensive game under Walton, and nobody seized the moment better than Clarkson, who came off the bench in his first game since signing a $50 million contract. His 3-pointer put the Lakers up 116-112 with 1:48 left, and the Lakers hung on while the Rockets missed a long series of open shots in the final minute.

Brandon Ingram scored nine points in the No. 2 pick's NBA debut for the Lakers. Timofey Mozgov had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Luol Deng had seven points in their Lakers debuts.

After matching the franchise record with 14 first-half assists, Harden tied his career high with his 16th early in the third quarter. The Los Angeles native managed only six points in the fourth quarter, going 1 for 5, and his teammates were a combined 5 for 16.


Hall of Famer Bill Walton proudly wore a purple Lakers T-shirt to his son's official coaching debut. Walton's mother and three brothers also attended the game. "The Walton force will be strong tonight," Luke said with a grin. "There's definitely nerves and excitement right now, but mostly there's no time to think about how incredible this is, and the opportunity. It's more focused on watching film and getting the prep work in for tonight's game."


The Lakers fired D'Antoni after he went 27-55 in 2013-14, the first of a franchise-record three straight non-playoff seasons. When D'Antoni was asked before the game about reflecting on his time in LA, the coach quickly quipped: "I try not to. ... No, I loved it. I actually did. Manhattan Beach is probably the greatest place to stay. Great friends. They treated me nice, (Lakers owner) Jim (Buss) and (general manager) Mitch (Kupchak). It just didn't fit. It just didn't work."


Rockets: Clint Capela, the 6-foot-9 Swiss forward, replaced Dwight Howard in the middle of the lineup.

Lakers: Metta World Peace began his 17th NBA season, picking up three fouls in his first two minutes while guarding Harden. ... Before the game, they solidified their young core by picking up their 2017-18 contract options on Russell, Randle and Larry Nance Jr. ... Jack Nicholson, Denzel Washington, director Peter Berg, YG, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.


Rockets: At Dallas on Friday in the opener of a home-and-home series.

Lakers: Open a four-game road trip at Utah on Friday.

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns

Instant Replay: Cousins, Kings cruise in opener vs Suns


The Sacramento Kings rolled into Phoenix’s Talking Stick Resort Arena and blew away the Suns on Wednesday night by a final of 113-94. The young upstart Suns tried to make a game out of it in the early fourth quarter, but Sacramento turned to their veterans who delivered down the stretch.

DeMarcus Cousins got into foul trouble early, but still found a way to drop in 24 points and grab six rebounds in 24 minutes manning the middle. Once he was in the flow of the defense, Cousins came to the aid of his teammates, stepping in and cutting off the baseline on multiple possessions.

Like Cousins, Rudy Gay didn’t look great early, but he still managed to score 22 points in the win. There was a sequence in the third quarter when Gay came alive on the defensive end, blocking back-to-back shots on the same defensive possession..

Starting for Darren Collison, Ty Lawson ran the offense better than expected, posting nine points, six rebounds and seven assists in 35 minutes of action.

Garrett Temple filled in as the reserve point guard spot and added 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Matt Barnes provided a spark off the bench, tossing in 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds.

Eleven of 12 players that stepped on the floor for Sacramento scored and nine players players dropped in six points or more in the win.  

Eric Bledsoe had a nice night for the Suns, scoring 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting with five assists. T.J. Warren chipped in 14 points and five rebounds while playing solid defense on Gay early. Devin Booker added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, but he missed all three of his long range shots.  

STANDOUT PERFORMER -- Cousins couldn’t set the tempo early, but when he got it rolling in the third quarter, it was lights out for the Suns. There are plenty of nights that Cousins will be asked to do more, but with a big lead, the Kings didn’t need a typical showing from their All-Star center.

TURNING POINT -- Sacramento finished the first half on a 16-1 run and took a 57-38 lead into the intermission. The Suns kept it within 20 for most of the night and even made a run at the end of third, but the game was decided in the few minutes leading to the intermission.

INJURY UPDATE -- Sacramento enters the season with a full roster of healthy bodies. Matt Barnes struggled with a rib injury during camp, but played a big 27 minutes for the Kings  in the opener.

WHAT'S NEXT -- The Kings return home from Phoenix following the game where the the San Antonio Spurs are waiting for them. Thursday night’s home opener marks the first official game in the new Golden 1 Center as the Kings look to improve to 2-0 on the season.