Shorthanded Warriors Demolish Timberwolves, 125-111.
The new-look Minnesota Timberwolves (7-3) flew into Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors (8-3) in what would be a battle of some of the two top teams in the NBA. The Warriors were without Kevin Durant for the game, as he was resting with a left thigh contusion. The Warriors would go on to beat the Timberwolves 125-101.
The first quarter saw both teams shoot 36% from the field. The Warriors often times looked stagnant in a half-court offense, but when they were able to speed down the floor and play in transition, the offense looked better. Unfortunately, because of the intention of getting ahead of the defense, the Warriors were making sloppy passes, and turned the ball over 7 times in the quarter. Steph and Klay both started the game 1-4 from the field, but that was because the Timberwolves’ defense was able to play them close without having to worry about leaving KD open. The Timberwolves went 0-8 from deep in the opening quarter, missing several wide-open looks, and that was a primary reason for the score being tied at 22 after the opening quarter.
The second quarter saw the Warriors continue to turn the ball over like it was their job. The Warriors committed 11 turnovers in the half while the Timberwolves only turned the ball over 5 times. The Warriors did shoot significantly better in the second quarter, and rose their shooting percentage to 47.7% from the field. The turnovers were the only real problem for the Warriors, as they were able to out rebound the Timberwolves in the first half. The rotations were clearly a little odd in the half, but that can be attributed to the absence of Kevin Durant. The Warriors’ bench picked up some of the slack, with David West and Omri Casspi combining for 11 points. The most notable stat from the Warriors’ bench came from Nick Young, who proved that he does not just shoot the basketball, but also has the capability of dishing out assists, and he did that three times in the half. Steph led the Warriors in scoring at the half with 14 points, and the Warriors led 51-50 heading to the third quarter.
The Warriors scored the most points in a quarter in the entire NBA so far this season, during the third quarter. They looked fantastic, only turning the ball over 3 times, and that helped them keep the Timberwolves at bay. Klay Thompson got hot, and ended the quarter with 21 points. The most impressive performance in the third quarter came from Nick Young, who not only hit two threes, but also played some nice defense, and continued to play as hard as I have seen him play. The Warriors shooting percentage continued to rise, and it finished at 56% in the third quarter, and they also ended the third quarter with 29 assists. Through the third, the Warriors held the Timberwolves to just 40% from the field, and 20% from three. The Warriors scored 44 points in the third quarter, and led the Timberwolves 95-76.
The fourth quarter saw the Warriors use their bench and run out the clock for the most part, and still manage to put up 30 points on the Timberwolves, who left their starters out for the majority of the quarter. The Warriors beat the Timberwolves, 125-101.
Some notable stats from this game included Klay putting up 28 points on 55% shooting. The Warriors had six players score 10 points or more, which was incredibly important because they had to fill the void left by KD. The Warriors also put up a league-high 44 points in the third quarter, which is the highest single-quarter total in the NBA this season.
My takeaway from this game is that the Warriors are truly just head and shoulders above most of their competition in the league. Even without KD, a guy who can score 25 points in his sleep, they can still dominate a playoff team and beat them by more than 20 points. No other team in the NBA has the luxury of having their best players be able to sit for the entirety of the fourth quarter on a near nightly basis because they have a commanding lead and there would be no need to play him later in the game. The Warriors also have the best bench in the NBA, it is composed of players who fit their system perfectly. The bench could probably beat 7 or 8 NBA starting lineups.
I think it is important to emphasize that the Timberwolves are a really good NBA team. They had a five game win streak before running into the Warriors. They have beaten OKC twice already this season, and have three of the most exciting players in the NBA on their starting lineup. They also have a very solid bench, and are a well built team, but they are still not good enough to hang with the Warriors for a whole game. This isn’t supposed to just be a knock on the Timberwolves, pointing this out was to show how even the best teams in the league can’t keep up with the way the Warriors are playing right now. With the way they have been playing defense, and protecting the ball (outside of their 19 turnovers tonight), I can’t see any team beating the Warriors in the playoffs.
The Warriors play next on Saturday, November 11, against the Philadelphia 76ers at 8:30 p.m.