Wounded Wolves set to host Warriors

The shorthanded Minnesota Timberwolves put forth a spirited effort last time out, but their rally fell just short of producing a second straight win.

The Timberwolves try to shake off their first home setback of the season on Friday night against the Golden State Warriors, who are set to begin a three- game road trip.

With six players out due to injury, Minnesota trailed the Charlotte Bobcats by 16 points heading into the final quarter on Wednesday, but found a groove that produced 34 points in the frame and a 16-2 run tied the contest at 87-87 following a free throw by Derrick Williams, who hit 1-of-2 from the line with 12.3 seconds left.

Charlotte's Kemba Walker, though, held for the last shot and buried a jumper with 0.7 ticks to play and give the Bobcats an 89-87 victory.

It was Minnesota's second loss in three contests following a three-game winning streak and dropped the club to 3-1 at home this season.

"We fought hard, came back. We gave them a little gap we shouldn't have given them, but we just missed too many free throws and other little things. But we had our chances to win that game," noted guard Luke Ridnour, who had 16 points and 10 assists.

With a lack of bodies, Andrei Kirilenko logged 44 minutes of work and led Minnesota with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Alexey Shved had 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Minnesota lost the game despite limiting an opponent to fewer than 90 points for the fifth time in eight games. Injuries were likely a factor.

Already dealing with long-term ailments to Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love and Chase Budinger, guard J.J. Barea sat out his fourth game in a row with a sprained left foot, guard Brandon Roy missed his third straight because of a sore right knee and Nikola Pekovic sat out his first due to a sprained left ankle.

All three are questionable for this game, so Minnesota opted to sign free agent small forward Josh Howard on Thursday, waiving guard Will Conroy to make room for the 32-year-old, pending a physical.

Howard, who will lend some support at the position to Kirilenko, spent last season with the Utah Jazz and averaged 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 43 games, making 18 starts.

The Warriors are without two of their top players, but still managed to gut out a 92-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday and snap a two-game slide.

Asked by head coach Mark Jackson before the game to contribute more, Harrison Barnes notched his first career double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds.

"I had a conversation with him earlier today and let him know what I was going to need him to do," Jackson said of his young forward. "I told him I was going to play him some more minutes but that he had to earn them; not just going to hand them to him. I thought he was very aggressive."

David Lee scored 18 points with 10 boards and five assists for the Warriors, who overcame 23 turnovers by outscoring the Hawks, 46-20, in the paint.

Golden State now begins a three-game swing through Minnesota, Oklahoma City and Dallas -- its first time out of the state of California since the season opener at Phoenix on Oct. 31 -- looking to win consecutive contests for the first time this season and Jackson thinks picking up a big win at home before the trek will help.

The Warriors had hoped that center Andrew Bogut would be ready for this trip, but he won't travel with the team and hasn't played since Nov. 7 due to an issue with his left ankle. Forward Brandon Rush is already lost for the year because of left knee surgery.

The road team won all three meetings a season ago, with the Warriors making up 20-point deficits in both of their wins. They have won eight of the past 10 encounters both overall and at Minnesota.