MINNEAPOLIS (CBS SF/AP) — The Golden State Warriors climbed back atop the Western Conference standings after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-107 on Tuesday evening. Stephen Curry’s explosive 22-point third quarter helped propel the team on the road.
Curry went 8 for 14 from 3-point range, pushing him past the 300 mark for the third time in four seasons. The Warriors had 39 assists on 44 made field goals and finished 19 for 42 from 3-point range in the wrap-up of a four-game trip. They’ve won 20 of their last 25 games away from home.
Klay Thompson pitched in with 28 points. Jonas Jerebko added 18 points off the bench, Kevin Durant scored 17 points and Draymond Green had 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Warriors (48-22), who bounced back from a loss at San Antonio on Monday and moved a half-game ahead of Denver (47-22) in the race for the top seed. The Nuggets were idle.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 21 rebounds, Andrew Wiggins totaled 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Josh Okogie had 19 points for the Timberwolves, who played again without the injured Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Robert Covington and Luol Deng, and lost their fourth straight game.
The Warriors, finishing their ninth set of games on consecutive nights out of 12 back-to-backs on their schedule this season, started rather sleepily and watched the Wolves build a 22-9 lead. Curry’s lob pass to Andrew Bogut on one possession during that stretch turned into a missed dunk.
The beauty of the Warriors — or irritation, depending on the rooting interest — is how quickly they can recover. They used a 21-3 run over the next 5:51 to take control, with their long-range shooting simply too much for this undermanned Wolves team that, even at full strength, is vulnerable defensively.
Jerebko, whose playing time has dwindled since DeMarcus Cousins returned, had 14 points in the second quarter alone, including a couple of deep 3-pointers from the wing to help the Warriors cruise into halftime with a 59-47 lead.
The Wolves managed to work their way back to tie the game at 61 on Okogie’s 3-pointer, but the Warriors needed only 3:18 for a 14-1 spurt that put them right back in charge. Curry had eight of those points.
The Timberwolves haven’t been above the .500 mark since they were 13-12, entering a four-game trip on Dec. 8. They dropped all four of those.
Of the eight stretches of three straight road games or more the Wolves had this season, they went winless five times. That included the three-game swing to Denver, Utah and Houston they finished on Sunday, losing by an average margin of 20.3 points. All three of those teams are all well on track to clinch spots in the playoffs in the coming days or weeks. That trip also took the Timberwolves into the final 15-game stretch of this tumultuous season, with 12 of those opponents currently above the cut for the playoffs.
The Warriors? They’ll only face a top-eight team in either conference four more times, with 12 games to go.
Joining Houston’s James Harden, Curry gave the NBA two players with 300-plus 3-pointers made for the first time in the same season. Curry, who set the record of 402 three years ago, has five of the top seven single-season totals in league history.
Warriors: Bogut started at center for Cousins (sore right ankle) for the second straight game and had two points and six rebounds in 13 minutes. Cousins is expected to play in the next game, coach Steve Kerr said.
With Curry, Bogut, Green and Thompson in the starting lineup at the same time, the Warriors have won 108 of 133 games. Jerebko reached double-digit points for the first time in 29 games, since Dec. 22 against Dallas (23 points).
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