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NBA: Struggle is real for Warriors

Stephen Curry,Ricky Rubio

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Stephen Curry got free for a clean look, and a record crowd at Target Center held its collective breath when he let it fly. Like it has so often during a remarkable slump for the game’s best shooter, the ball clanked off the rim again.

Like they have so often during a late-season surge toward playoff contention, the Minnesota Timberwolves walked off the court winners again.

Andrew Wiggins scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half and hit the go-ahead free throws with 12.8 seconds left to lift the Timberwolves to a 103-102 victory over the scuffling Golden State Warriors on Friday night.

Klay Thompson scored 30 points for Golden State, but Curry’s struggles continued in the Warriors’ second straight loss and fourth in six games without injured star Kevin Durant. Curry scored 26 points, but was just 10 for 27 from the field and 1 for 8 from 3-point range. And he missed an 18-footer in the closing seconds that would have won the game.

Before a two-game skid against Washington and Chicago last week, the Warriors had gone a league-record 146 straight regular-season games without consecutive losses. Their next streak lasted just two.

In his last 13 games, Curry was shooting 29.7 percent from 3-point range and he missed his first four from long range on Friday night. His first 3 of the night splashed through with 7:59 to go in the third quarter, but missed his next two to keep the floodgates closed. “Whether we get the one seed or not, it’s about us just playing better, finding a rhythm down the stretch of the season,” Curry said. “And there’s enough games for us to do that.”

Rockets 115, Bulls 94
Although the Houston Rockets put up big offensive numbers in the second and third quarters, their work on the defensive end dominated the discussion in the postgame locker room.

“We just locked it in,” James Harden said. “We stuck to our principles. We knew if we gang rebounded and got out in transition, we had a chance.”

Harden had 19 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds, and Houston rallied from an early double-digit deficit for a 115-94 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Coach Mike D’Antoni earned his 500th career win.

“I’ve been around for a long time,” he said. “I’ve had some good teams and this is one of my best.”

Bucks 99, Pacers 85
John Henson stays ready to play each game, even if he hasn’t had many minutes lately.

Coach Jason Kidd finally called Henson’s number Friday night, and the Milwaukee backup center delivered with important contributions off an injury-thinned bench.

Starters Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton each scored 21 points, getting help from up and down the lineup, and the Bucks won their season-high fifth straight game by beating the Indiana Pacers 99-85 on Friday night.

Henson added eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks for Milwaukee, which clinched the season series against Indiana.