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Russell scores 30 as Warriors top Wolves

SAN FRANCISCO — For a team that went to the NBA Finals five straight years and came away with three championships over that stretch, it might not seem like much.

But considering where the Golden State Warriors are at, winning consecutive games for the first time this season qualifies as progress.

D’Angelo Russell scored 30 points, Alec Burks had 25 points and eight assists, and the Warriors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 113-104 on Monday night.

“I think it’s good man, in the way we’re winning too,” Russell said. “We’re growing.

“It’s not like we just so happened to be making shots … we’re getting better with the little things that we’ve found a way to lose games with. Rebounding, free throws, box (outs), all that little stuff.”

Draymond Green added 14 rebounds and nine points and Damion Lee had 14 points for Golden State, which won consecutive games for the first time since last season’s Western Conference finals.

“It feels … amazing,” Green said. “I never thought I’d be so excited for two regular-season wins in my life.”

Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and Jordan McLaughlin had 19 for the Timberwolves, who dropped their 11th straight.

Jeff Teague added 12 points for Minnesota.

The Warriors broke open a tie game midway through the second quarter with an 18-3 run to take a 53-38 lead.

Green scored on a hook shot with 2:30 left in the first half to cap the run.

The Warriors opened up a 64-47 lead after starting the third quarter on a 7-0 run. The Warriors led 82-58 late in the third quarter on Omari Spellman’s layup.

Minnesota went on a 14-2 run to close within 84-72 early in the fourth quarter.

The Timberwolves closed to 109-104 with 22 seconds left when McLaughlin was fouled on a dunk and completed the three-point play with a free throw.

The Timberwolves are 5-19 since a 125-119 win over Golden State on Nov. 8 in which Russell scored 52 points and Wiggins had 40.

“It’s no secret we’re in a funk right now,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said.

“Young team or not, we’ve got to learn lessons in this league, because you’ve got to go through hard times to get to where you want to be.”

The Warriors are playing their best ball ahead of a Christmas home game against the Houston Rockets that will be seen by a national audience.

“We need this regardless of what’s coming next,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We just needed to win a couple of games in a row just to get a little momentum and feel good. Christmas is always a special day to play on, you know that everybody’s watching. It’s got a different vibe, a different feel, and our players will be really excited it’ll be good to go into that game with momentum.”

Tip-ins

Timberwolves: G Shabazz Napier was held out of Monday’s game due to illness. … Jake Layman missed his 15th straight game with a left toe sprain. … Karl-Anthony Towns (left knee sprain) missed his fourth straight game.

Warriors: F Glenn Robinson III missed Monday’s game with a right ankle injury. Kerr said Robinson rolled his ankle in practice on Sunday. Robinson had started 30 straight games. He’s probable for the Christmas game against Houston, Kerr said. … F Eric Paschall played for the first time since leaving Friday’s game against New Orleans late in the first quarter with a knee injury. … The Warriors activated G Ky Bauman and F Alen Smailagic.

Up next

Timberwolves: Play at Sacramento on Thursday. Minnesota’s 141-130 loss to the Kings the last time it played in Sacramento on Dec. 12, 2018, ended as the third-highest scoring game in Timberwolves history.

Warriors: Host Houston on Christmas Day. The Rockets defeated Golden State 129-112 on Nov. 6 in Houston.

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