MINNEAPOLIS — Jarrett Jack has been a rock-steady pro for eight years now, the kind of reliable performer contending teams crave.
Even though he is still coming off the bench for the Warriors, he’s found himself in more of a starring role lately, and he showed the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday that he is equally comfortable as the leader of a playoff-caliber unit.
Jack had 23 points and eight assists to rally the Warriors to a 100-99 victory over the Timberwolves.
David Lee had 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who trailed by 16 in the first quarter before Jack jumpstarted the offense as he has all season. Reserve Carl Landry added 19 points and nine rebounds for Golden State, which has won three in a row following a six-game losing streak.
“It’s new to a lot of people,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “But that’s who he is for us. He’s been a sparkplug off the bench for us.”
Jack hit 5 of 7 from 3-point range, grabbed five rebounds and delivered one forearm shiver that woke the sleepy Warriors up in the first game of a tough five-game road trip.
“We try to have resolve,” Jack said. “Some resiliency, fight, but the one thing we respect the most of all, that coach has been preaching since day one is effort.”
Derrick Williams had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had a chance to win it in the final seconds. But Luke Ridnour’s mad dash down the court ended with a floater that was off the mark, and the Warriors escaped.
Nikola Pekovic had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Ricky Rubio had 16 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds and six steals for Minnesota, which scored just 18 points in the fourth.
The Wolves were up six with six minutes to play, but Jack hit two free throws and a big 3-pointer from the top of the arch for a 96-95 lead, validating the lobbying that Jackson has been doing on his behalf for sixth man of the year.
NOTE: Center Andrew Bogut didn’t make the trip to Minnesota for the beginning of a five-game road trip after an MRI revealed a protruding disk in his back is causing spasms. Jackson said before the game that they’re going to be patient with Bogut’s back injury. There was no timetable put on Bogut’s return and Jackson was resolute that Andris Biedrins, Festus Ezeli and the rest of Golden State’s big men were ready to pick up the slack.