Wolves nip Warriors in wild duel

Stephen Curry

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Karl-Anthony Towns drained a free throw with five-tenths of a second remaining to seal Minnesota’s 131-130 overtime victory over Golden State Friday that left the defending NBA champion Warriors fuming over the officiating and their own miscues.

Towns went to the line after Warriors star Kevin Durant was whistled for a fifth foul on an inbounds play.

Durant was called for holding Towns near the basket, even though the pass appeared out of reach of both players.

Towns made the first of two free throws and missed the second as time expired.

The defeat left the Warriors neck-and-neck atop the Western Conference with the Denver Nuggets, who beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-105 to improve to 51-24.

The final foul on Durant was just one of the calls that irked the Warriors.

Seconds earlier, Golden State inbounded the ball to Durant who put up a three pointer that dropped through the net as a foul was called.

But officials waived off the basket saying the foul had occurred before Durant got the shot off.

“Mind boggling,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who thought it should have been a four-point play.

“You catch the ball, you go up for a shot, you get fouled — in any league that’s a good bucket and a free throw.”

But Kerr conceded the Warriors’ problems started earlier as their 68-54 halftime lead evaporated in a sluggish, sloppy third quarter.

The Warriors were outscored 32-18 in the period, making just five of 20 shots from the field and committing eight turnovers with zero assists.

They needed a Stephen Curry three-pointer and a free throw by Draymond Green to knot the score at 115-115 and force overtime, and were down 128-119 with 1:41 remaining in the extra session.

Curry, who finished with 37 points, produced three three-pointers in an 11-2 scoring run for the Warriors, knotting the score at 130-130 with eight-tenths of a second left.

“We went into halftime with 20 assists, three turnovers, broke the game open late in the second quarter, were rolling along,” Kerr said. “Third quarter was a disaster. We stopped playing.