March 13, 2011
MINNESOTA (41-24) at
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."