Warriors outrun and outshoot the Timberwolves, Dominate in 122-113 Win
After beating the New York Knicks on Tuesday, the Golden State Warriors (38-10) continued their homestand against the Minnesota Timberwolves (31-19). The Timberwolves would be without their best player, Jimmy Butler, but they still had an All-Star in their lineup with Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns was selected to be on Stephen Curry’s all star team, as was his teammate Jimmy Butler. Coming into this game, the Timberwolves were one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and had one of the best records in the Western Conference since December. The Warriors were looking to flex their muscles and remind the Wolves that they are still the top dogs in the NBA. The Warriors went on to win the game 126-113.
In the first quarter, the Warriors got off to a hot start. The Warriors’ broadcast team of Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett said that this might because the Warriors did not have a shootaround this morning before the game, so the team was more fresh. I can sense truth in that statement due to the play of Andre Iguodala, who played one of his best quarters of the season. He finished the quarter with eight points in just five minutes, three of which came on a three that he drained with less than a minute left in the quarter, and it was a sight for sore eyes as he is shooting less than 30% from three this year. Kevin Durant led the Warriors in scoring with nine points, and was looking as efficient as ever. He drained a couple nice shots in the face of Nemanja Bjelica, including a deep three. Speaking of deep threes, Stephen Curry found himself wide open from 35-feet out late in the quarter and drained the deep three in Taj Gibson's face. The Warriors shot a combined 64.0% overall and 66.7% from three. The Timberwolves had a decent quarter as well, shooting 46.4%, and they managed to keep a decent pace with the Warriors. They were led by Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 10 points in the quarter. After the first, the Warriors led 38-29.
The second quarter saw the Warriors keep the ball rolling, and they continued to put up incredible scoring numbers. They were still shooting incredibly well. Throughout the first half, 60.4% overall and 66.7% from deep. Stephen Curry was the Warriors leading scorer with 17 points on 6-8 shooting. He hit several incredible threes and was able to be a good distributor as well. Kevin Durant was the next leading scorer with 15 points, nine of which came on threes. The Warriors were just moving the ball incredibly and with such ease. They were able to put up more than 35 points in transition in the first half alone, and it was remarkable to see how easily they were able to put in work on offense. They dished out 23 assists in the half, and while many of those were in transition, they also had some incredibly quick passes to create open shots in the halfcourt. The Timberwolves made the game closer as the half wound down, largely thanks to strong performances from Karl-Anthony Towns and Jeff Teague, who combined for 31 points. The Timberwolves just couldn't play effective defense to contain the Warriors high octane offensive attack, and they trailed at the half, 74-62.
As spectacular as the Warriors shot in the first half, they were even better in the third quarter. They just poured it on from beyond the arc, and had 18 threes by the time the third quarter buzzer sounded. While their overall field goal percentage dipped a little bit, to 59.4%, their three point percentage rose to nearly 70% as they shot 69.2% (18-26). Kevin Durant led the charge in overall scoring with 26 points, but Klay Thompson’s shooting was the story of the quarter. He hit four straight threes to open the quarter, and finished with 22 points. Steph also had a couple three's to tie Klay with 22 points of his own. The Warriors also eclipse 30 rebounds and 30 assists in the quarter, which was pretty special. They just hit three after three after three, and it was fun to watch. The Timberwolves would not go quietly though, as they hung in and were only down 13 points. KAT still led his team in scoring with 25 points, but no other Timberwolf had more than 20. Heading to the fourth, the Warriors led 106-93.
The Warriors managed to stave off a late run from the Timberwolves in the fourth quarter to win the game. The Timberwolves were propelled on a late run that brought them within 10 points thanks to an incredible quarter from Jamal Crawford, who finished the game with 21 points. He was just hitting mid range jumper after mid range jumper, it was quite impressive if I am being honest with you. The Warriors were able to keep pouring it on from three, and finished with a season-high 21 three’s made. The Warriors finished the game shooting 53.9% overall and 56.8% from three. The Timberwolves had a good game shooting the ball as well at 45.5%. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 28 points, but he also had 11 assists, 10 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. He had a triple-double, and had double digit assists for the second straight game for the first time in his career. Steph hit the dagger three in the closing minutes to ice the game for the Warriors. The Warriors won 126-113.
The big differences in this game came from beyond the arc and in transition. The Warriors outscored the Timberwolves 48-15 in transition. Being able to put up 48 in transition is a testament to how great the Warriors’ defense can be. The Warriors generate so many tipped passes and blocks that they just get to the other half of the court faster than anyone else. There were several instances tonight where the Warriors had offensive sets where there were only two Timberwolves back on defense. The Warriors were also absolutely absurd from three, setting their season-high in threes made with 21. Most of those came from Steph, Klay, and KD, who combined to go 18-27 from beyond the arc, scoring 54 points. The Warriors are the best shooting team in the league, from both inside and outside of the arc, and they proved tonight that they can score in any way imaginable, whereas the Houston Rockets rely primarily on the three ball.
I can’t really put too much stake into this game simply because the Timberwolves were without Jimmy Butler. He is the heart and soul of this version of the Timberwolves, and in all honesty, deserves to be in the MVP conversation. I think that the Warriors still would have won had Jimmy played, but it would have been closer. The Timberwolves actually play the Warriors with a lot more confidence than other teams, and that is because they have beat them in Oracle Arena twice in the last two years, so they believe that they can run with the Warriors, and that can be dangerous.
Some Warriors players not-named Stephen, Klay, and Kevin also had pretty good games and deserve some recognition, so here it is. Andre Iguodala had his best game in the last several weeks, scoring 10 points and finishing with a +/- of 14. Draymond Green also had a great game, especially on defense where he picked up three blocks. He wasn’t too shabby on offense either, picking up nine points and grabbing eight rebounds. Nick Young once again proved himself to be a valuable shooter off the bench for the Warriors, finishing with six points on two threes. Stephen Curry also had a great all-around game, not just from beyond the arc. He finished with 25 points, which is very nice, but he also dished out nine assists, and stealing the ball three times. Kevin Durant also picked up his third triple-double of the season, which means that according to twitter, he had his third good game of the season.
This was also the first time the Warriors wore their new "City" uniforms which were inspired by Chinatown and Chinese New Year. I think the Jerseys were pretty cool, and definitely among the league's best alternate jerseys.
The Warriors play their next game on Saturday, January 27, at home against the Boston Celtics at 5:30 p.m.