MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — David Lee had 31 points and eight rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors rallied from a 20-point deficit to top the reeling Minnesota Timberwolves 97-94 on Wednesday night.
Charles Jenkins had 19 points and seven assists and Richard Jefferson scored 13 of 5-of-7 shooting for the Warriors, who snapped a six-game losing streak. They trailed by 20 with less than two minutes to play in the first half, but outscored Minnesota 40-19 over the next eight minutes of game time.
The Warriors led by 10 with seven minutes to play, but the Wolves tied it with 90 seconds to go. Then Jenkins, a virtually unknown rookie second-round draft pick from Hofstra, scored on a driving layup with 20 seconds to go put the Warriors up for good.
Jenkins has started five of the last six games with star guard Stephen Curry out because of another ankle injury, and he’s responded in a major way. He had 27 points and six assists against Portland on March 25, then 18 points and 12 assists against the Nets on March 30.
He went 8 of 13 from the field on Wednesday, getting to the rim at will against the Wolves.
“I continue to be pleased. I’m not surprised because he’s a gamer,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “He’s a guy that works his tail off, competes, defends, not afraid to get into the paint area, made plays and was one of the best players on the floor tonight.”
Kevin Love had 29 points and 12 rebounds and Wayne Ellington scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter for the Timberwolves, who have lost four in a row and five of their last six to fall out of contention in the Western Conference playoff race.
J.J. Barea had 15 points and eight assists in his return from a six-game absence due to a bruised thigh. But he also committed seven of Minnesota’s 19 turnovers.
Barea’s 3-pointer from the elbow tied it at 94 with 1:24 to play, but playing with the bravado his coach did during a brilliant NBA career, Jenkins drove to the basket and somehow scooped a shot under Love’s arm for a 96-94 Golden State lead with 20.4 seconds remaining.
“We hesitated to get there, but he takes a tough shot and he makes it,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. “Those are game-winning plays and that’s what you have to have. We were doing that before and we’re not doing that now.”
The Wolves had a chance to tie it with 0.7 seconds left, but Love’s 3 at the buzzer was just short.
Even after losing Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL on March 9, the Timberwolves still had legitimate playoff hopes as the month started to wind down. But even more injuries followed, with Nikola Pekovic, Barea and Michael Beasley all missing significant time, and the Wolves were 4½ back of Houston for the eighth spot in the West heading into the day.
Point guard Luke Ridnour missed the first of what is expected to be at least a week of games with a sprained right ankle, dimming their hopes even more.
The Warriors waved goodbye to the postseason long ago, and turned their eyes to next season when they traded fan favorite Monta Ellis to Milwaukee for the injured Andrew Bogut and the disgruntled Stephen Jackson to San Antonio for Richard Jefferson.
They showed little interest in the early going of the second night of a back-to-back, settling for jumper after jumper and not capitalizing on a Minnesota defense that has been porous for the last three weeks.
Golden State scored six points in the first eight minutes of the second quarter and was down 49-29 after Ellington’s 3-pointer with 1:53 to play in the half.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Warriors came alive. They scored 10 straight points in less than a minute to cut the halftime deficit to 12, then poured it on with a 38-point third period. Klay Thompson started knocking down those jumpers that were missed early in the game, and Lee’s work on the boards helped offset Love’s usual dominance.
NOTES: Pekovic started the game 4 for 4, giving him 11 straight made field goals, a streak that was snapped with his first shot of the second half. … Wolves rookie Derrick Williams had just three points and four boards in 13 minutes. … The Warriors entered the night second in the NBA in 3-point shooting at .387, but hit just 25 percent on Wednesday night.
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