Taking one step forward and two steps back all night, the Timberwolves on Wednesday lost for just the second time in nine games, 98-97 at Brooklyn.
They were beaten by a Nets team that outscored them 42-3 on 3-pointers made, but ultimately won on point guard Spencer Dinwiddie’s short baseline shot with 9.7 seconds left and Jimmy Butler’s pull-up jumper just before the final buzzer missed.
The Nets outscored the Wolves by that 39-point margin on 3-point shots after they went 14-for-30 while the Wolves made just one of 11 attempts.
After trailing by as many as 12 points and leading by as many as five, the Wolves trailed three times by five points in the game’s final five minutes, including 94-89 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
But they scored the next five points unanswered to tie the game at 94 with 1:22 left.
Butler provided a crucial rebound and a blocked shot, too, in that 5-0 run that led to consecutive baskets by Andrew Wiggins and Tyus Jones.
Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, left, drives past Minnesota Timberwolves’ Gorgui Dieng during the second half of the Nets’ win.
(Frank Franklin II/AP)
But Dinwiddie, the Nets starting point guard by default, answered with a baseline shot that gave the Nets a 96-94 lead with 65 seconds left before.
Quincy Acy’s away-from-the-ball foul on Jones sent Butler to the line for a penalty free-throw line and then Butler got himself there again on the ensuing possession and the Wolves led 97-96 with 33 seconds left.
But Dinwiddie made the eventual winning shot with fewer than 10 seconds left.
The Wolves led 85-82 with fewer than seven minutes left before Nets forward Joe Harris scored a putback basket while slashing free along the baseline and then made a 3-point shot that gave the Nets the lead at 87-85 with six minutes left in the game.
The Wolves had started their last two games with a combined lead of 33-0.
(Frank Franklin II/AP)
They led the Pacers 17-0 to start Sunday’s game in Indiana and then came back the next night and led the Lakers 16-0 at home on Monday.
“I don’t know if there’s any one particular reason, but we just talk about being ready to play,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game. “The numbers show teams that come out and get leads early, there’s usually a high winning percentage for teams leading after the first quarter. We always say the first five minutes are critical.”
The Wolves were 24-14 after they held onto those last two big leads. The Nets are 14-23 and short on point guards with D’Angelo Russell and Jeremy Lin both plays.
Spencer Dinwiddie started for them and Nets coach Kenny Atkinson called their backup situation “by committee.”