Minnesota Timberwolves coach Chris Finch has plenty of confidence in his new-look team’s ability to defend at every position, all over the court, even with the ball in Stephen Curry’s hands and the game on the line.
Karl-Anthony Towns hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play after Kyle Anderson stole a pass by Draymond Green, and the Timberwolves held off the Golden State Warriors 99-96 on Sunday night.
“Defensively I thought we were really, really good,” Finch said. “When you play these guys it puts a lot of onus on your smalls to keep chasing, keep fighting and keep contesting.”
Jordan Poole gave Golden State the lead on a 3-pointer with 1:28 left, moments after Towns had connected from deep. Poole, who had a game-high 27 points, then secured a rebound on the other end.
The Warriors had a chance with 9.9 seconds left but Curry couldn’t corral Poole’s errant pass, then Curry missed a contested 3 from the baseline just before the final buzzer.
Towns had 14 points, five rebounds and a pair of steals in his second outing following a 52-game absence with a strained right calf. He returned Wednesday against Atlanta.
“Tough one to walk off the court with nothing to show for it,” Steph Curry told reporters postgame.
“We just didn’t execute down the stretch,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We didn’t deserve to win. They outplayed us. They made the plays down the stretch that they needed to make, and we didn’t.”
Given three possessions inside the final minute to put the Timberwolves on ice, the Warriors responded by summoning their most self-defeating offensive tendencies.
The zero-pass possession: Leading 96-94 with 54.5 seconds remaining, Jordan Poole rebounds a Kyle Anderson miss, dribbles past midcourt, and – with nine seconds on the shot clock – jacks up a 28-foot step-back 3-pointer that misses. A “shot turnover,” in hoops lingo, that leads to a free throw by Rudy Gobert.
The killer turnover: Leading 96-95 with 14.5 seconds left, Draymond Green tries zipping a pass intended for Klay Thompson that Anderson easily swipes. He flips it to Karl-Anthony Towns, who drains a transition 3-ball for a 98-96 lead.
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