Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/25/12
OAKLAND -- In a game-deciding duel between 6-foot-10 NBA All-Star Kevin Love and 6-foot-7 rookie second-round pick Draymond Green, it's not surprising rebounding and interior baskets provided the difference in Saturday's game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Golden State Warriors. The shock comes in the guy who won the battle. Green triggered a game-swinging, 12-0 run in the fourth quarter with two follow shots and harassed Love into three consecutive misses as the other end, helping Golden State overcome a five-point deficit en route to a 96-85 victory at Oracle Arena. The Warriors used a 22-6 finish to record their third straight home win and fifth in seven games overall. The Timberwolves missed 10 of their 12 shots over the game-ending stretch, including five in six tries by Love. "Just battle. That's all you can do against him," Green said of his key matchup with Love, who had recorded 34- and 24-point scoring nights in his two previous games since returning from a broken hand. "I'm just happy that I was able to contribute." The former Michigan State standout did more than just contribute. He led the way, getting inside Love to follow up Carl Landry and Stephen Curry misses on successive possessions that followed the Timberwolves having taken a 79-74 lead into the third minute of the fourth quarter. "When I wasn't doing much early in the season, Charles Jenkins told me, 'Do what got you here,'" the 14-game veteran said of his Warriors teammate. "I know that's why they drafted me, because I do a little of everything." And because of that, Love did a lot of nothing down the stretch. He missed three straight shots, including two from in the key over the smaller Green, during the critical 12-0 drought that sent Minnesota reeling toward a fifth consecutive loss. "I have no feel for the ball," noted Love, who wears a protective wrap on his right hand during games. "It's not an excuse. It's just that when you wear something restrictive like that, it's hard to be your normal self." After Green's consecutive follow-ins had gotten his team within 79-78, Golden State took the lead for good on a three-point play that also featured an offensive rebound. This time, after Harrison Barnes had tied the game by making the first of two free throws, Landry snatched a Barnes miss on the second attempt and converted a follow shot for 81-79 with 8:25 to play. Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman was particularly disturbed by that sequence of events, after which the game slipped farther and farther away. "There's no excuse for giving second shots," he assured. "That one rebound on the free throw especially. You can't allow that because he's going to get fouled or he's going to finish around the basket." Barnes slammed through a dunk on a fast break and Curry buried a 3-pointer to cap the 12-point flurry, which coincided with the Timberwolves going eight consecutive possessions without a score. Love's three misses and three Minnesota turnovers accounted for six of the eight failures. "We couldn't let him dominate the boards," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of Love, who managed 15 rebounds. "You do it by committee." But mostly, especially with the game in the balance, it was Green. "He's a tough, hard-nosed guy," Jackson praised. "He's a guy I feel confident can guard 1-through-4 (point guards through power forwards) on the floor, because he's not going to give up an advantage in heart, desire or determination." Love shot just 6-for-20 and finished with 15 points. Nikola Pekovic led Minnesota with 17. Klay Thompson had 24, Curry 20, Landry 18 and David Lee 17 in a balanced Golden State attack. Lee shared in the defensive assignment on Love. "I just wanted to keep up what he had been doing," Lee said of following in Green's successful footsteps late in the game. "He came in and did a great job. That's what bench guys are supposed to do." NOTES: The Warriors outscored the Timberwolves 26-11 in the fourth period, the fewest points Golden State has given up in a quarter this season ... Love got two of his points and one of his rebounds without actually touching the ball. He got credit for the stats when Green and Warriors teammate Andris Biedrins accidentally tipped the ball into the Minnesota basket while battling for a rebound in the first quarter ... The Warriors hope to see injured center Andrew Bogut working out on the team's practice court in some capacity Monday, which makes him at least questionable to return to game action on the club's current homestand that runs through Dec. 3 ... Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio missed his 37th consecutive game (including the final 25 last season) as he recovers from surgery on his left knee. He appears relatively close to returning, but the Timberwolves' Adelman cautioned nothing in imminent. "He looks fine," the veteran coach observed. "Once we see him in scrimmages, we'll see where he is." ... The Timberwolves also are without Chase Budinger, who has connected on 40.6 percent of his 3-point shots in nine career games against the Warriors. Lamenting his team's poor outside shooting of late, Adelman assured, "Chase would help." The swingman isn't expected back until at least February.
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