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Jefferson's big game helps Timberwolves top Warriors

Jan 3, 2009 - 5:32 AM By James Beilby PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Al Jefferson had 32 points and 10 rebounds and Ryan Gomes added a season-high 21 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Golden State Warriors, 115-108, on Friday.

Rookie Kevin Love added 19 points and eight rebounds for the Timberwolves, who now have won three of five after dropping 13 straight.

"We're playing better and moving in the right direction," Minnesota guard Mike Miller said. "There's light at the end of the tunnel now."

Golden State, which was playing its 15th straight game without leading scorer Corey Maggette who is out with a strained right hamstring, dropped to 4-18 on the road.

"We've got to grow up fast and learn to play on the road," Warriors captain Stephen Jackson said. "Coaches are doing everything they can to get us prepared. We got to stop looking at coaches for the answers and we've got to go out there and get the job done ourselves."

After Jackson made a 3-pointer to pull the Warriors to within 103-96, Jefferson made a pair of free throws for the Timberwolves before Marco Belinelli split a pair for Golden State.

Randy Foye scored five straight points to put Minnesota on top, 110-97, with 1:57 to play.

After struggling early in the season, Foye is averaging 19.0 points on 49 percent shooting in the last six games.

"I have to give a lot of credit to (interim coach Kevin McHale)," Foye said. "He has encouraged me through the ups and downs. He just wants me to be free, to play like I did in college, score and make plays."

While the Timberwolves led by as much as eight in the first half, it took Jefferson's layup with less than a second to play to secure a 58-57 halftime lead. Jefferson led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting before the break.

"We struggle against talented big men," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "And they got a good one here in Jefferson."

Gomes scored 13 points in the third quarter, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the middle of a 21-6 run which gave Minnesota a 83-72 lead with 4:46 to play in the quarter.

"Last game we played well in the first half but not in the second half," Gomes said. "So tonight we said that we wanted to play like we did in the first half against Dallas for the whole game."

In what has been disappointing seasons for both teams, the Wolves and Warriors both were looking for their third win in five games.

"We still have a lot of room to grow," Foye said. "But we're getting better. (McHale) is getting more comfortable and we're getting more comfortable with his coaching style. Now we're just out there having fun."

Jackson scored 25 points and Andris Biedrins added 19 and 13 rebounds in the losing effort for Golden State.






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