Short-handed Wolves squander early lead in loss to Warriors
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MINNEAPOLIS - David Lee had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the Golden State Warriors dominated inside during a 106-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Carl Landry added 15 points and seven boards and Stephen Curry had 17 points and six assists for the Warriors (5-4), who outscored Minnesota 58-22 in the paint.
Alexey Shved had 22 points and seven assists and Derrick Williams had 23 points and seven rebounds for the Timberwolves (5-4), who are starting to succumb to the injuries that have ravaged them early this season.
Harrison Barnes had 18 points and nine rebounds and the Warriors outrebounded Minnesota 50-34. They led 90-76 with eight minutes to play, but as they've done all season, the scrappy Wolves clawed back in it.
Shved's runner cut it to 92-89 with four minutes to go, but the short-handed Wolves just didn't have enough in the tank to finish it off.
Lee hit a short jumper and Charles Jenkins and Barnes both scored on easy drives to close the game out. It was a nice win for the Warriors to start a tough three-game road trip that includes games at Oklahoma City and Dallas.
Without Nikola Pekovic out there to clog the paint, the Warriors attacked the rim relentlessly and pounded the Wolves on the glass. During one possession in the third quarter, the Warriors had three offensive rebounds before Barnes converted a tough layup for a 67-60 lead. And they just kept coming.
Lee with a dunk, Klay Thompson with an easy layup off a screen, Jarrett Jack with a pull-up jumper just outside the lane. Suddenly it was 80-64 and the Warriors were rolling against a Timberwolves team that entered the game leading the NBA in scoring defense.
Minnesota was without six of its top seven players. Pekovic, J.J. Barea (sprained left foot) and Brandon Roy (sore right knee) are out for the short term, but the Wolves will be without Kevin Love (right hand), Ricky Rubio (left knee) and Chase Budinger (left knee) for a much longer period.
Desperate for healthy bodies, the Wolves signed Josh Howard on Thursday.
Howard couldn't have got off to a much better start. He grabbed a rebound and knocked down a baseline jumper in his first 27 seconds on the court, then added a steal and another long two in a six-minute stint. It's just what Rick Adelman was looking for, some competent wing play to allow a little bit of rest for Andrei Kirilenko, who played 88 minutes the previous two games.
Howard cooled off considerably in the second half, finishing with six points on 3-of-10 shooting.
NOTES: During a video in the first quarter, Kirilenko told the story of how he got the nickname AK47. He said he originally had No. 13 when he came to the Jazz, but gave it up to Mark Jackson, who now coaches the Warriors. Jazz teammate and former University of Minnesota star Quincy Lewis told Kirilenko about the gun, so Kirilenko chose the No. 47 and the nickname was born. ... Former Wolves, Pistons and Wizards coach Flip Saunders watched a game from the seats at Target Center for the first time since he was fired by Minnesota in 2005. ... The Warriors improved to 4-0 when Jarrett Jack, who scored 13 points, reaches double figures.© The Associated Press