Warriors skid in record bid

Minnesota's Shabazz Muhammad going up for a shot against Golden State's Draymond Green at the Oracle Arena. The Warriors crashed to their second home defeat in three games, losing the game 117-124.
Minnesota's Shabazz Muhammad going up for a shot against Golden State's Draymond Green at the Oracle Arena. The Warriors crashed to their second home defeat in three games, losing the game 117-124.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

They must now win all 4 remaining games if they are to beat Bulls for most wins in a term

OAKLAND (California) • The Golden State Warriors' bid to surpass the Chicago Bulls' National Basketball Association (NBA) regular-season record suffered a setback on Tuesday after they crashed to a shock overtime defeat by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Warriors, chasing the legendary 1995-1996 Bulls' mark of 72 victories, slumped to a 117-124 reverse against the Timberwolves, who have the third-worst record in the Western Conference.

The Warriors' defeat means they must now win all four of their remaining games - which include two meetings with the second-ranked San Antonio Spurs - to get to 73 victories.

The Warriors (69-9) had looked to be cruising to a straightforward win after accelerating into a 17-point lead in the second half.

But the Timberwolves held Golden State without a field goal for the final 2min 23sec of regulation, and forced overtime when Andrew Wiggins got to the basket for a driving hoop that tied the game at 106-all with 19.8 seconds left.

  • ​34 

    The Golden State Warriors have lost to the Milwaukee Bucks (32-46), Denver Nuggets (32-47), Los Angeles Lakers (16-61) and Minnesota Timberwolves (26-52). The combined win rate of those teams is 34 per cent.

  • 114 

    Golden State's loss to the T'wolves ends a win streak of 114 games when they led by at least 15 points.

  • Warriors star Stephen Curry was without a field goal in the first half for the first time this season.

Wiggins then scored the first four points of the overtime session to propel themselves to the unlikely win, which left the Golden State home crowd in stunned silence.

Reserve guard Shabazz Muhammad finished with a career-high 35 points, and Wiggins added 32 for the Timberwolves.

Warriors talisman Stephen Curry struggled to find his range all night, finishing with 21 points but making only four of 14 three-point attempts as Golden State tumbled to their second home defeat in the space of three games.

Last Friday's loss to Boston was their first at Oracle Arena in over 14 months.

A disappointed Curry rejected suggestions that the drive for the record was weighing on the reigning NBA champions.

"I don't think so," said the guard.

"We've put ourselves in a position that it's a realistic goal and we've got to embrace the challenge.

"It's obviously not easy to get it done. But I don't think it's anything that's weighing us down on the floor or anything like that.

"We just haven't played well in two of the last three home games. It's amplified now because we're so close to the goal."

Yet, Chicago also lost two late home games that season before ending up with the record 72 wins.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who played on that Bulls team, was not surprised by Tuesday's upset.

"You have so much media attention and everybody talking about breaking the record and you lose focus a little bit," he said.

"The same thing happened 20 years ago. We didn't play well down the stretch."

Minnesota (26-52) won the game at the free-throw line, where they outscored Golden State 28-7.

Muhammad went 15-for-17 and Wiggins 8-for-9 at the line.

"It wasn't even about being a part of history," centre Karl-Anthony Towns said after a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double contribution.

"You want to go out there and win.

"Every game, you want to go out there and you want to be a very competitive team that goes out there and wins."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2016, with the headline 'WARRIORS SKID IN RECORD BID'. Print Edition | Subscribe