“We believe in him,” Timberwolves forward Robert Covington said. “This coaching staff, this organization believes in him. Now he’s starting to see it, he’s starting to feel it. He’s just going out there, he’s being comfortable. Not hesitating.”
Wiggins and the Timberwolves trailed 110-106 with 29 seconds left in regulation. But after two free throws by Karl-Anthony Towns and a forced jump ball by Covington, Wiggins tied it on a drive with 5.6 seconds left. Russell’s 3-pointer at the buzzer missed.
“It definitely feels good, knowing that we got that fight,” Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie said. “Every game is not going to be a game where we can just be front-running and win from the beginning.”
“He’s hungry,” Minnesota coach Ryan Saunders said.
Wiggins was not made available to reporters after the game.
Towns battled through foul trouble to score 20 points and grab 14 rebounds. Covington had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
It took all of them to edge Russell and the Warriors, who have lost five of six.
Russell had missed the previous three games for injury-depleted Golden State with a sprained right ankle. His return gave the Warriors their seventh different starting lineup in 10 games. His previous career high was 44 points.
“I think I’m capable of doing whatever with the ball in my hands,” Russell said. “Just trying to make a play every time. Fortunately the shots were going in and we were making plays. It happens like that in this league.”
Alec Burks scored 18 points off the bench for the Warriors, who have the third-youngest team in the league according to Elias Sports Bureau.
Three fouls limited Towns to seven points on five shots in 10 first-half minutes. That, along with 17 points from Russell, helped the Warriors to a 61-60 lead at halftime.
Golden State was 20 for 20 from the free-throw line in the first half. The Warriors finished the game 23 for 24.
“We had control of that game and we just let it slip away,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s unfortunate. Our guys played really hard and, I thought, played well enough to win. Give Minnesota credit. They made big plays down the stretch.”
Warriors G Stephen Curry (fractured left wrist), G Klay Thompson (left ACL surgery), F Kevon Looney (neuropathy), F Draymond Green (sprained left index finger) and F Alen Smailagic (right ankle sprain) are out.
Timberwolves point guards Jeff Teague (illness) and Shabazz Napier (right shoulder sprain) missed their second consecutive game. Saunders said Teague has a good chance to play Sunday against Denver. Okogie started Wednesday’s loss to Memphis, but returned to the bench Friday. He was replaced by Treveon Graham, who started the first six games of the season.
GOOD H ANDS
“It was obvious,” Covington said. “He didn’t have nowhere to go. Because I took away the middle, and he turned his back. He only had one way to go.”
Warriors: At Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
Timberwolves: Host Denver on Sunday.
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