OAKLAND -- Monta Ellis has to be seen in person to be appreciated.

There are a lot of 6-foot-3 guys in the world who dabble at playing basketball. Not many can play two-guard in the NBA.

Ellis can do it, we are told, because of superior quickness, skill and athleticism.

Ellis had 17 points in the first 17 minutes of the game Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves as the Warriors built a 22-point lead at 50-28.

But what looked like an easy Warriors win turned into anything but that. And it was Ellis (career-high 35 points), with his will to take it at the rim, who saved Golden State, converting a three-point play late in the fourth quarter to help thwart a Minnesota comeback as the Warriors held on for a 105-101 victory in front of 19,596 at Oracle Arena.

The Warriors were hot from 3-point range in building their big first-half lead. They went 1-for-14 on 3s in the second half when the Timberwolves nearly came all the way back.

"The zone is designed to do that, makes you shoot jumpers," Baron Davis said. "We fell into that trap. We lost our tempo. I'm happy to get out of here with a win."

Davis also had 17 by halftime as the Warriors led 56-43 at the break. But that lead was a little too close for comfort, as well as an indication of what was to transpire at the end of the game.

The Warriors extended their 13-point halftime lead to 18 before allowing the Timberwolves, fresh off coming back from a 21-point deficit to beat Indiana, back in the game.


Advertisement

The Timberwolves, working the paint behind Al Jefferson (20 points, 19 rebounds), cut the Warriors' lead to two in the final minute.

Minnesota outrebounded Golden State 51-43.

A driving layup by Davis, who finished with 27 points, got the Warriors some breathing room at 100-96.

"We did just enough to get the win," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "No matter how you cut it, we scored 105 points, and that was enough to win."

Ellis, who took a hard fall that resulted in a bruised tailbone, knocked down three free throws in the final minute to keep the Timberwolves at bay.

"He's just getting better all the time," Nelson said. "That was really great for him to step up and make the big free throws, really another fun thing for the coach to watch. Even last year it wasn't a sure thing, but the more you shoot under pressure the better you get."

Ellis, who made 13 of 21 field-goal attempts, is now shooting 59.7 percent over his last five games and is over 50 percent on the season -- one of only five guards to do so. The other four are Tony Parker, Mike Miller, Deron Williams and Steve Nash.

"Monta did a great job," Steven Jackson said. "He was carrying the team."

Ellis and Davis combined for 62 points. Jackson added 19 points.

"Monta Ellis and Baron Davis, our guards could not guard them," Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman said. "We've got to work on finishing games. When our 3-point shots are not falling, we've got pick up the pace and get more aggressive on defense."

Contact Glenn Reeves at greeves@bayareanewsgroup.com.

WARRIORS 105, TIMBERWOLVES 101

  • NEXT GAME: Friday, vs. Nuggets, 7:30 p.m.