Recap – Timberwolves 121, Warriors 120

"VICTORY!" for the Pups in a close game!

“VICTORY!” for the Pups in a close game!

The Timberwolves traveled further west for two weekend games, starting with Friday night’s game in the Bay Area to take on the 26-17 Warriors.  The Warriors took care of the Wolves earlier this season at Target Center and it was time for the team to redeem themselves.  Friday night was also another opportunity for the Wolves to reach the .500 mark with a win.

After lacerating his finger earlier this week, Kevin Martin was a little bit of a question mark.  However, no surprises as it got closer to tip-off in the Pups starting lineup: Rubio, Martin, Brewer, Love, and Pekovic.  Similarly, there were a few question marks going into tonight on the Warriors lineup given a few minor injuries.  However, no surprises there either, as the team sent out the following lineup: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, and Andrew Bogut. [Read more…]

Timberpups Weekly Preview 2014 – Week 13

Happier times for the Wolves 'big three' (Jim Mone/Associated Press).

Happier times for the Wolves ‘big three’ (Jim Mone/Associated Press).

Setting the stage:

First, let me clarify a technicality.  Due to the cancellation of the game in Mexico City against the San Antonio Spurs, the number of each game is off by one game, relative to adding up the wins and losses for the Wolves to this point in the season.  When we get to the Spurs game on April 8th, we will be calling that “Game 20”.  Please just agree that this is “fair”.  Why?  Because I want to leverage this week’s preview as a place to rant about how the Wolves are looking “halfway through the season”.  Let’s pretend that we aren’t 49% of the way there and are at 50%.  Sound good?  Thanks!

This past week included two bad losses to the Kings and Raptors.  The Wolves salvaged the week with a blowout victory against the Jazz on Saturday, but remain below .500 for the season – 19-21, now sitting in the 11th position of the Western Conference.  The team is 3.5 games behind Phoenix for the 8 seed in the Conference, with the Grizzlies and Nuggets also ahead of them.  Let’s agree that this is an underperforming group right now, despite the few injuries that the team has endured. [Read more…]

Timberpups Weekly Preview 2014 – Week 2

 

Early smiles for the Timberwolves this season! (Photo credit: Kentucky.com)

Early smiles for the Timberwolves this season!
(Photo credit: Kentucky.com)

Setting the stage:

I have never been as excited for the second week of the NBA season as I am for this coming week!  Why?  For the first time, I will be frequenting the Target Center for some Timberwolves action!  Yes!!  I will be in town for the Wednesday and Friday games this week, so if anyone is interested in grabbing a Teddy Bruschi or Charles Brewkowski before or after either game, please do shoot me a note here or on Twitter.

Aside from that shameless promotion, the Timberwolves are coming into the week off of a promising week – going 3-0 with a dramatic home opener, a blowout against OKC, and a solid road win at MSG – despite giving up a big lead – on Sunday.  As it always seems to be with the Wolves, with the good comes a little bad, with the team announcing that Ronnie Turiaf has a fractured elbow and is out indefinitely.  That will put Gorgui Dieng in the spotlight early on in his rookie season and he’ll need to step up and contribute behind Nikola Pekovic.

The Wolves enter the week looking like an offensive juggernaut, averaging 110 points per game through the first three.  The team is also top 10 in the league in rebounds and assists per game, at 43 and 23 respectively.  Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio are leading the way in the box score, but it has been solid contributions from the entire rotation that have helped the team to its 3-0 start.

Let’s see if this can continue into week two.  Here are a few thoughts for each game this week.

Game 4: Monday, 11/4, 6pm – Timberwolves @ Cleveland Cavs (TV: FS North)

The Wolves will travel to Cleveland off of Sunday night’s game at MSG, with the opponent having an off day to recover from Saturday’s game against the Pacers.  The Cavs are off to a slow start this season, entering the game 1-2 thus far.  They are near the bottom of the league in scoring at only 85.3 ppg.  Kyrie Irving is leading the team in scoring and assists but his shot is a bit off right now.  Somewhat surprisingly, the Cavs have gotten minutes from Anderson Varejao and Andrew Bynum, who may make things a little tough in the paint.

Opponent to watch:

Kyrie Irving – While there are a few intriguing storylines with the Cavs (Michael Bennett and Bynum particularly), I’m giving the nod to Irving for this go-round given the overall excitement he can create and the speed in which he can play at.  Hopefully Rubio can contain Irving and/or Kyrie’s shot remains off for one more night.

Predictions:

I’m not predicting a loss until the Wolves drop a game.  I wouldn’t be surprised though if the team falls here, given the back to back schedule.  How is that for hedging bets?  A big game from Kevin Love puts the Wolves over.  Final score: Timberwolves 98, Cavs 92

Game 5: Wednesday, 11/6, 7pm – Golden State Warriors @ Timberwolves (TV: FS North)

I visit the Twin Cities with the Warriors in tow from Philly.  Not really, they should already be in town.  Wednesday’s game at Target Center is the middle game for Golden State’s three game road swing.  This is one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA and we can expect a high scoring affair.  Klay Thompson dropped a cool 38 points on opening night and the Wolves will need to find a way to contain him and Stephen Curry.  The Wolves frontcourt is also going to have to find a way to slow down David Lee, who put up gaudy stats in week one.

Opponent to watch:

Andre Iguodala – Many Wolves fans have clamored for AI2 for years (I’m not one of them) and Wednesday is another opportunity to see him play at the Target Center.  Through the team’s first three games, AI2 has not been scoring much, but that isn’t necessarily what GS needs from him.  He is however, filling out the box score, contributing in all aspects of the game – passing, rebounding, steals, and blocks.

Predictions:

The highest scoring regular season game in NBA history (without overtime) was on 11/2/90 between the Warriors and Nuggets.  The teams combined for 320 points.  The bar is set for this game, make it happen!  Final score: Timberwolves 130, Warriors 122

(I have never, ever predicted 130 points for an NBA team.  This will be a special night all-around.)

Game 6: Friday, 11/8, 7pm – Dallas Mavericks @ Timberwolves (TV: FS North)

The Mavericks will visit the Target Center on Friday night, coming off of a nationally televised game Wednesday night in OKC.  The team made several, significant moves in the offseason and to this point, it has paid off.  They finished the first week of the season 2-1, with wins at home against Atlanta and Memphis, and the loss coming on the road in Houston.  Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis are off to hot starts, each averaging more than 20 ppg.

Opponent to watch:

Dirk Nowitzki – My eyes are going to be on Dirk, as I have never seen him play in person.  He may have lost a step, but I’m intrigued to see just how sweet his offense looks in person.

Predictions:

I’m confident that the Twolves will win this game.  That’s never a good thing.  It will likely be the polar opposite of Wednesday’s game against GS though.  Rubio shines in this one and I get to gloat about it all the way back to NJ.  Final score: Timberwolves 96, Mavericks 88

Game 7: Sunday, 11/10, 8:30pm – Timberwolves @ LA Lakers (TV: FS North)

The Wolves head west to take on the Lakers Sunday night to start a back to back against both LA teams.  The Lakers will come into the game off of a three game road trip that took them through two-thirds of Texas and New Orleans.

This will be Wolves’ fans first opportunity to see the almighty Wes Johnson in purple and gold.  Have I mentioned him in the past?  I think I have.  While we won’t see Kobe Bryant, I still think this team can tread water for a while.  This past Friday night, the team stayed with Duncan-less Spurs and almost pulled it out.

Opponent to watch:

Wes Johnson – Just kidding, unless you want to induce a coma.

Pau Gasol – This will be a tough match for Pekovic, given Pau has returned to the middle of the floor.  Pau is putting up solid numbers early on in the season.  With Kaman as the backup, we might see a little more of Kevin Love at the Center spot, as Pekovic and Dieng will have their hands full.

Predictions:

I expect a big night from Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer going against the Lakers’ wings.  Final score: Timberwolves 103, Lakers 94

Wrap-up:

A pretty busy week for the Wolves lies ahead, with four games in seven nights.  The countdown has already begun for my trip to the Twin Cities.  Looking forward to meeting as many of you as I can over anything but a Martina Navratibrewski (because you can’t have more than ‘ski’ at the end of the root word).

Here’s to hoping the Pups continue their winning ways!  Please don’t let me be there for the first loss.  Please!  Let’s go Wolves!

Minnesota Timberwolves 89, Golden State Warriors 105

Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports

Game Summary:

Playing in Oakland on Monday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves took on the Golden State Warriors who were playing to clinch a playoff spot with a win on their home floor. A win for the Warriors would symbolize the organization reaching only their second playoff berth over the past 19 years.

The matchup featured a showdown between the top three-point shooting team in the league against the worst in that same category. Minnesota, now without team leader and top scorer Kevin Love for the remainder of the season as he gets some scar tissue cleaned up in his knee, had a very difficult time competing in the interior against the Golden State frontcourt of David Lee and a healthy Andrew Bogut.

The Warriors size advantage was impossible to ignore from the tip, as Warriors head coach Marc Jackson put 6-foot-7 Klay Thompson on Ricky Rubio, making penetration tough for the Spaniard off the bat.

The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, Nikola Pekovic entered the game averaging a dominant 22.7 points and 10.9 rebounds over his past seven games. The Warriors game planned well and Bogut did a very good job of denying Pek the ball on the low block. With Minnesota doing a poor job of finding ways to get the ball to their center in the paint, the Wolves were forced to focus the offense on scoring from the perimeter – something that they usually struggle mightily with.

It was Klay Thompson who provided the majority of Golden State’s points early on, as he was red-hot from beyond the arc. Shooting an impressive 40% from three in only his second NBA season, Thompson hit his first four shot attempts and he led the Warriors with 10 points with the Warriors leading 20-17 with 2:55 remaining in the first period of play. Minnesota looked for backside cuts for much of their offense and went into the second period tied 26-26.

Thompson continued to light it up from all over the floor in the second quarter as he stayed perfect hitting his first 8 field goal attempts with 5 of them being three-pointers nearly halfway through the second. Despite the superb performance Thompson was giving for Golden State, Minnesota held a 40-39 lead with nearly seven minutes remaining in the first half. Stephen Curry had a difficult time getting in a rhythm and was mostly passive throughout the first half and even had to be careful on the defensive end as he picked up his third personal foul with around 3 minutes left in the second quarter.

Having a hard time gaining separation from Thompson, Ricky vied for open jumpers dribbling off screens but his shot looked very flat and he shot 0-5 in the first half. With Rubio unable to create offense for himself and the Warriors baiting him to take longer jump shots, the Pups fell right into Golden State’s gameplan as the Wolves worst shooter continued to brick shots off of the rim while Nikola laid hungry on the low block.

A late run in the first half highlighted by a transition dunk by Harrison Barnes gave the Warriors a 55-54 lead entering halftime. The first half was essentially the Klay Thompson show, who put on an absolute clinic shooting the ball as he went 9-11 from the field on his way to 25 first half points. The Washington State product certainly played a critical role in keeping the Warriors afloat providing nearly half of the team’s points in the opening half of play.

In the second half, Golden State continued their initial game plan of denying Pekovic on the low block while baiting Ricky to shoot jump shots. After averaging such prolific numbers over the past seven games, Pek was unable to get into any sort of rhythm in the paint while facing very impressive interior defense.

With the game only separated by six points, Luke Ridnour and Thompson got into a small shoving match which ultimately resulted in a technical foul against Luke causing a shift in momentum in the opponents favor. From that point on the Wolves started their collapse as the Warriors fed off of each others energy in transition leading to a 19-4 run for Golden State. With Rubio ice cold and unable to score on anything besides free throws, the Warriors gained significant control of the game with just less than four minutes to play in the third period as they led the Pups 78-64.

Not only was Pek held in check scoring-wise, but he was also unable to contribute on the offensive glass as the Warriors did a fantastic job of getting multiple bodies on the 290-pound monster. This inhibited the Timberwolves from creating second chance opportunities and the Warriors held a large advantage in the rebounding battle. Stephen Curry began to heat up in the third period scoring 13 points in the quarter. Chase Budinger was able to provide a spark offensively off of the bench as he scored 10 points in first 12 minutes on the court. However, Golden State controlled the perimeter and interior battles and led 86-70 heading into final period of play.

The fourth quarter was much of the same as the Wolves continued to struggle shutting down any of the Warriors several weapons, and the countdown to the final buzzer was on for much of the fourth quarter. With the clock ticking down, Warriors fans received the 105-89 victory with chants and cheers as they witnessed their team secure a playoff spot for only the second time in 19 seasons. As hard it was to watch Golden State cap off their impressive season with a playoff berth while the Timberwolves are in the midst of finishing their tumultuous 2012-13 campaign, it was a good sight watching a small market club cheered on by a sellout Oakland crowd overcome significant adversity to ultimately grab a playoff spot in the upcoming NBA postseason. While Timbewolves’ fans know that it coulda been, shoula been us, we must continue to look to the future and have confidence that our bit of luck has yet to come.

 

Keys of the Game:

Rebouding - The Warriors out-rebounded the Timberwolves 60-44 while holding a 12-6 advantage on the offensive glass. Lee, Barnes and Bogut each recorded at least 10 rebounds while Greg Stiemsma led the Wolves with 9.

Interior Defense - The Warriors held Minnesota’s starting frontcourt duo of Williams and Pekovic to a collective 10 points on 4-16 FG and 7 rebounds. Bogut recorded 3 blocks and together he and Lee posted 17 points and 26 rebounds.

 

Three Stars of the Game: 

  1. Klay Thompson - Thompson was unconscious in the first half knocking down his first 5 three-point attempts and his first 8 field goals in total. The long shooting guard was two points off of his career high for scoring as he finished with 30 points (10-19 FG, 6-10 3Pt) to pair with 5 steals in 36 minutes on the floor.
  2. David Lee - Golden State’s workhorse in the paint continued his tremendous 2012-13 campaign and recorded another double-double of 15 points (6-12 FG), 12 rebounds and 5 assists in 33 minutes. Lee has been arguably the Warriors most important player this season and he will finally get an opportunity to compete in the playoffs after eight NBA seasons.
  3. Stephen Curry - After a subpar first half, Curry got hot in the third quarter and ultimately finished with 24 points (9-21 FG, 2-9 3Pt), 10 assists and 4 rebounds in 39 minutes. Curry has done a great job of staying on the court this season after several arthroscopic ankle surgeries over the past few seasons. It is no question that Golden State is a fundamentally different team with Curry in the lineup than when he is on the bench with injury.

Minnesota Timberwolves 99, Golden State Warriors 100

Photo Credit: David Sherman/NBAE/Getty

Photo Credit: David Sherman/NBAE/Getty

For this afternoon’s game, John and I spontaneously decided to co-author the recap of the Timberwolves 100-99 home loss to the Golden State Warriors so that you can ponder the thoughts of two bummed-out Wolves fans instead of one. Enjoy.

Game Summary

Big Al:

Luke Ridnour’s last second floater over a trailing defender went up and rimmed out just moments before the buzzer sounded, completing the Warriors come-from-behind victory separated by a single point. Despite trailing by as many as 16 points in the first quarter, Golden State overcame Minnesota’s 5-point fourth quarter cushion and narrowly escaped with the victory on a night where nothing seemed to be going right for the playoff-destined Warriors.

Losing their tenth game when possessing a lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Timberwolves imploded in the final period and were impacted by questionable officiating throughout the contest.

The imposing Golden State frontcourt featuring All-Star David Lee and backup extraordinare Carl Landry got off to a very slow start as Nikola Pekovic and Williams established themselves on the low block. The Pups displayed strong ball movement in the interior courtesy of some fancy passes from Andrei Kirilenko.

Andrew Bogut, who was acquired last season in a trade involving Monta Ellis, did not travel to Minnesota for Sunday’s matchup after an MRI revealed a disk protrusion which was causing back spasms. The 7-foot center has been one of the most injury-riddled players in the entire association since being taken with the first pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Bogut, who has been limited to only 12 games since returning from surgery on his troublesome ankle, has not been worth his $13 million price tag since arriving in Oakland. The Warriors hope Bogut can be healthy in time for the playoffs when they will greatly need him for their frontcourt depth.

John:

The Wolves jumped out to a very strong start, taking an 18-6 lead heading into the first timeout and receiving positive contributions from everyone in the starting lineup.  At the same time, Stephen Curry picked up two quick fouls and had to take an early seat on the bench.  This normally would have been a net-positive for the Wolves, but Jarrett Jack came in and hit two quick three pointers.

If it weren’t for Jack, the Warriors would have been down quite a bit more.  Jack had 11 of the Warriors 18 points in the 1st quarter.  However, he couldn’t contain the strong play of the Wolves, who filled the highlight reel in the first twelve minutes.  Rubio, Pekovic, Kirilenko and Williams all had very strong 1st quarters.  At the end of the 1st, the Wolves held a 32-18 lead.

Slowly but surely, the Warriors cut the Pups lead throughout the 2nd quarter.  With under a minute to go, Golden State cut the lead to one point due to poor execution on both ends of the court.  The quarter got a little chippy between the two teams with Jack and Stiemsma going at it a bit.  The officials were letting the teams play through a lot of banging and slapping in the paint.

At the end of the first half, the Wolves held a 55-52 lead.  Here are a few halftime thoughts through my Wolves lens:

  • Minnesota dominated the paint, particularly in the 1st quarter and needed to revert back to this quickly (36 points for the Pups vs. 20 for GSW in the first half)
  • A very nice team effort from the Wolves in the first half, with four players in double digits
  • Rubio was doing a little bit of everything – 4 points, rebounds, and steals, to go along with 5 assists

Despite some questionable officiating, the Wolves were able to maintain their lead through the 3rd quarter, going into final 12 minutes, holding an 81-76 lead.  Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio helped lead the charge for the Wolves in the quarter, playing the entire twelve minutes and putting in a number of highlights.  In fact, Williams led the Pups with 18 and 11, putting up another double-double in only three quarters.

Big Al:

As mentioned above, the Wolves dropped their tenth game after heading into the final quarter with the lead, which leads the NBA. Minnesota’s woes in the fourth quarter were largely due to their inability to hit the long ball (0-7 in the final quarter) and too many mental and physical mistakes leading to 5 fourth-quarter turnovers. Jack and Curry each hit big shots in the final minute to seal the victory while Minnesota couldn’t buy a basket (AK-47 wide-open airball, Ridnour missed floater).

Keys of the Game

  • Three-point Shooting – The most blatant difference between Minnesota and Golden State revolves around the two teams ability (and inability in the Wolves’ case) to knock down three-pointers. The Pups shot a horrendous 1-11 from downtown while the Warriors converted on 7 of their 17 attempts. Jack was an assassin from deep as he drilled 5 of his 7 three-point attempts.
  • Free throws – In games that are ultimately separated by a few points, it is easy to point to missed free throws as the scapegoat. While the results of a game extend much further than a couple of missed attempts at the charity stripe, it must be noted how significant Rubio’s only missed free throw was following his and-1 late in the final period. Golden State got it down from the line as they converted 19 of their 23 tries (83%), while Minnesota hit just 24 of their 31 tries.

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Jarrett Jack – What a game for the Warriors 6-man as he finished the night with 23 points (8-19 FG, 5-7 3PT), 8 assists, 5 rebounds and only 2 turnovers in 36 minutes. Jack, who is playing for his fifth team in eight NBA seasons, is enjoying what may very well be his best season of his career off the bench for the Warriors. The former Georgia Tech standout has become the leader of one of the top second units in the league, and will undoubtedly be a leading candidate for the 2013 Sixth Man of the Year award.
  2. Ricky Rubio – Although he appeared shook and heartily disappointed with the end result, Ricky provided a ridiculous performance in which he gave a legitimate run at a quadruple-double finishing with the line of 16 points, 11 assists, 8 rebounds, 6 steals and 6 turnovers in 39 minutes for the Wolves. Turnovers were a problem and he had a tough time shooting the ball (3-10 FG), but he affected the game in so many ways that his shortcomings were easily overlooked. The Spaniard gave tremendous effort on both sides of the ball all night and made Stephen Curry earn every point that he got this afternoon.
  3. David Lee – Big night for the All-Star following a slow start for the big fella. Lee notched a double-double of 22 points and 13 rebounds and was a big part of the Warriors late-game run which culminated in the Warriors stealing a game on the first night of their 5-game road trip.

 

 

Preview: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Golden State Warriors, 2/24/13

Photo Credit: Adidas

Photo Credit: Adidas

Our Pups return home after a high scoring affair Friday night against the OKC Thunder to take on the vastly improved Golden State Warriors Sunday afternoon. While the Wolves season has fallen apart, the Warriors are meeting or exceeding expectations to this point in the season. Minnesota comes into Sunday’s game with a 20-32 record, while the Warriors come into the game off of a big, overtime victory Friday night against San Antonio, improving their record to 32-23 on the year.

Before Friday’s game, the Warriors announced that Andrew Bogut would miss another indefinite amount of games due to problems with his back. This has to be frustrating for Warriors fans as the team has climbed to the six seed in the conference largely without their starting center. One must wonder “what could have been” if Bogut was able to stay healthy, particularly in an effort to avoid the Spurs and/or Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. That said, I don’t think the Warriors will get many pity points from the Timberwolves or their fans given what has transpired this season for our Pups.

These two teams have not met since November, when the Warriors handed the Wolves two losses over the span of eight days. Golden State took the first match-up 106-98 at the Target Center and then the second match-up in the Bay area 96-85.

Finally, in case you missed it, the Warriors launched a new jersey in Friday night’s game on ESPN – the Spurs-Warriors game followed the Wolves-Thunder match-up on ESPN’s doubleheader. The jersey is more t-shirt vs. jersey and is certainly an interesting mix into the lineup. The cynic in me suggests that this type of “jersey” makes it an easier transition for the NBA to start putting brand logos and advertisements on their apparel.

Player to watch:
David Lee – Lee had two solid performances against the Wolves in those November meetings, putting up 18 points and 13 rebounds in Minnesota and 17 & 8 in the following match-up. Without Kevin Love again, it will be important for Minnesota’s frontcourt to keep Lee off the boards as much as possible and to stay in front of him in the isolation sets, not allowing him to fly by the defender and/or having a second defender backing up whoever is matching up against Lee directly.

Match-up to watch:
Ricky Rubio vs. Stephen Curry. The could-have-been teammates are the primetime match-up in Sunday afternoon’s meeting. About the only positive topic the Wolves have going right now is the on-going improvement in Rubio’s game as he continues to build/gain confidence in his knee. Curry is having a career year this season, coming into the game averaging a career best 21.1 ppg, 6.6 apg, and 4.0 rpg. He also has a 19.8 PER, which is good for fifth highest in the league among PG’s.

Predictions:
The Warriors are coming off of a solid win against the Spurs Friday night, so there is a chance of a letdown here at the Target Center. However, I won’t go on record predicting one.
Final score prediction: Twolves 104, Warriors 112

Three stars of the game predictions:
1. Harrison Barnes
2. David Lee
3. Nikola Pekovic

Lets go Wolves!

Minnesota Timberwolves 85 – Golden State Warriors 96

Mathew Sumner – Associated Press

Another game, another loss. In the second game of their road trip, the Minnesota Timberwolves fell for the fifth game in a row, and the third loss in a row since the return of Kevin Love. Led by Stephen Curry’s 5 three-pointers, the Warriors dropped the Timberpups by a score of 96-85.

K-Love had his worst shooting night of the season as he went only 6-20 from the field while attempting a mere 4 free throws. Love had a very tough time with his right hook shot, which is usually his bread and butter on the low post. In the second half, Love threw his protective black glove to the sideline, in an obvious signal that he feels that it is restricting him on his shot. Timberwolves medical personnel states that he can no longer do any more damage to the hand by not wearing the glove, except the fact that it remains more vulnerable to injury should he fall on it or hit it against someone. Regardless, it appears that Love is done with the black glove, and hopefully that will correlate with more made field goals.

The Timberwolves three-point shooting woes were on full display last night as they converted only 5 of their 27 attempts (18.5%). Although Golden State shot an uncharacteristic 6-21 from long-range, they once again outshot the Wolves from the field (42%-38%) and relied heavily on Curry who carried the Warriors throughout the second half to yet another second-half comeback victory over the Pups.

Carl Landry was fantastic off the bench for the Warriors, who recorded 18 points and 9 rebounds while sinking all 10 of his free throw attempts. Andrei Kirilenko had yet another poor shooting night as he scored 11 points on 4 of 13 shooting, including missing all 5 of his three-point attempts.

Despite outscoring the Warriors in the paint by a tally of 46-36, Golden State won the rebounding battle (48-39) and was very active on weak-side rebounding. Draymond Green, David Lee, and Harrison Barnes all caught their Wolves defenders sleeping at times and exploited poor block-outs to create second chance opportunities all game long. Klay Thompson, who is generally considered one of the top three-point shooters in the league, went a miserable 1-8 from beyond the arc, but made up for it with his mid-range game on his way to scoring a game-high 24 points.

Derrick Williams, having received two consecutive DNP-CD, played just about as good of an 11 minutes as he has all season. D-Will looked very sharp on both ends of the floor, and appeared as if he was not over-thinking things as he previously has been this season. He flowed with the game and did not hesitate when given an opportunity to score, and scored 10 points while hitting 2 of his 4 three-point attempts. On defense, Williams blocked 2 shots and recorded one steal while turning the ball over once. D-Will was one of only two Timberwolves to have a positive +/-, with the other being Dante Cunningham. Cunningham brought tremendous energy off the bench and scored 6 points (3-5 FG) while snagging 2 steals on defense. Dante received a relatively smaller role given that D-Will saw the floor, but the two of the together were ultimately effective and were one of the only bright spots for the Pups.

Nikola Pekovic finished with another solid line of 17 points (7-13 FG) and 6 rebounds in 30 minutes, but had a much bigger first than second half, as the Warriors really turned it up on their low-post defense.

The Timberwolves starting backcourt had yet another poor showing, as Luke Ridnour and Malcolm Lee shot a combined 1-10 from the field while getting thoroughly outplayed by the Warriors guards. The Pups backup guards once again outplayed the starters and subsequently Alexey Shved and JJ Barea received more minutes than both Ridnour and Lee. Shved had a nice night finishing with 9 points (3-7 FG) and 5 assists while Barea ended with 8 points (2-6 FG) and 10 assists. All in all, the Wolves are in desperate need of three-point shooting from both of their guard units as the guards shot an unacceptable combined 2-12 from three-point range.

The Timberwolves lack of players who can create offense for themselves has been a main highlight during their current 5-game skid, and they will need to start hitting more three-pointers and playing tougher defense if they are to break the losing streak. It is also important that this team continues to learn how to operate with Kevin Love in offensive and defensive sets, as it has fundamentally shifted the way this team plays. The Timberwolves next matchup is on the road in Sacramento on Tuesday night, and here are tonight’s three stars of the game.

  1. Stephen Curry
  2. Harrison Barnes
  3. David Lee