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T’wolves beat Warriors to end 3-game slide

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POSTED March 20, 2012 1:04 a.m.

OAKLAND (AP) — Kevin Love banked in a 16-foot jumper with 4 minutes left, then added an insurance tip-in off a miss by J.J. Barea to help the Minnesota Timberwolves keep their dimming playoff hopes alive with a 97-93 win over the Golden State Warriors on Monday night.

Love finished with 36 points and 17 rebounds for his 39th double-double of the season. Luke Ridnour added 11 points and 10 assists, while Anthony Tolliver scored 10 points off the bench, all in the fourth quarter for the Timberwolves.

Minnesota (23-24) snapped a three-game losing streak with the win and moved within 1 1/2 games of Houston for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.

David Lee had 25 points and nine rebounds for the Warriors, who remained winless since trading leading scorer Monta Ellis to the Milwaukee Bucks last week.

Love finished three rebounds shy of his seventh career 30-point, 20-rebound game, which would have been a franchise record. As it was, the 6-foot-10 forward inched closer to passing Kevin Garnett for the most rebounds in team history. He needs just 11 to break Garnett’s mark of 1,139.

Minnesota needed all of them to hold off a pesky Golden State team which has been struggling to find any sense of rhythm since trading Ellis.

The Warriors (18-25) scored just 14 points in the first quarter, but led 85-84 after Nate Robinson’s 15-foot jumper with 5:34 left.

Tolliver answered with a 3-pointer before Love banked in his long jumper.

After Lee made one of two free-throw attempts for Golden State, Love tipped in Barea’s missed layup. Tolliver later scored on a soaring dunk down the middle to seal the win for the Timberwolves.

It’s only the fourth time this season Minnesota has won on the second half of back-to-back games. The Timberwolves were blown out by Sacramento 115-99 on Sunday.

It’s also just the fifth time Minnesota has beaten Golden State in the last 18 meetings between the teams.

Love nearly had his double-double before halftime. He had 12 points in the first quarter when Minnesota built a 21-14 lead, then added a short jumper as part of the Timberwolves 9-0 run to start the second.

Michael Beasley’s free throw with 4:30 left in the second quarter pushed Minnesota ahead 39-22 before Golden State made a late push behind Brandon Rush and Lee.

Johnson stop the run with a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the half while Ridnour added a running 18-footer just before the shot clock expired, helping the Timberwolves take a 49-35 lead into halftime.

Coming off the blowout loss to the Kings 24 hours earlier, Minnesota seemed to wear down quickly after that.

Part of it was due to Klay Thompson, the Golden State rookie who has taken over at shooting guard following the team’s trade of Ellis.

The 11th overall player taken in the draft, Thompson scored the first five points of a 9-0 run and then added his second 3-pointer of the quarter to give the Warriors a 62-61 lead. He finished with 17 points.

Lee later drove past a trio of Minnesota defenders and dunked to maintain Golden State’s one-point lead before Love scored the final five points of the quarter, including a banked 3-pointer that put the Timberwolves up 71-67 heading into the fourth quarter.

Notes: Golden State G Stephen Curry sat out his fifth straight game because of a sprained right ankle. ... Former Warriors star Chris Mullin’s No. 17 jersey was retired and hung from the rafters during a halftime ceremony. Mullin spent 13 of his 16 NBA seasons playing with Golden State and still holds franchise records for games played and steals. The five-time All-Star is the sixth player in franchise history to have his number retired.

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