In a game where Stephen Curry goes 2-8 with 5 points and Andrew Bogut plays 16 minutes while collecting 5 fouls, it would probably be fair to assume the opposing team (in this case, the Timberwolves) would run away with it, right? Tonight's game at the Target Center might make you reconsider. The Timberwolves lost their second straight game tonight 106-93, falling to 3-2 at the hand of the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors managed 26 points off 19 Minnesota turnovers. The Wolves only managed 10 points off 21 Golden State turnovers. That, combined with Golden State killing Minnesota in field goal percentage (50 vs 37.8) gave Golden State an easy victory, in what could have been an opportunity for Minnesota to take advantage of some key absences.
"We have to find a way to keep things going and be more productive," Wolves coach Rick Adelman said following the game, speaking on the second team's issues in the first half. "It just didn't happen. We just never sustained anything."
Despite forcing some shots, especially in the third quarter, Kevin Love had a nice game on the stat sheet, finishing with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists on 10-25 shooting. Minnesota's second leading scorer, Kevin Martin, finished with 23 points on on 7-15 shooting. Corey Brewer was the only starter to shoot over 50 percent form the field, going 7-14 for 18 points.
Ricky Rubio struggled tonight, despite having what might have been the play of the night early in the game. He finished 2-8 from the field with 5 points and 7 assists. He also went 0-3 from beyond the three point line.
Nikola Pekovic looked lost at times tonight, and has struggled to find a groove thus far in the early stages of the season. Tonight, he struggled to get into position on the glass, and had issues scoring inside, even despite Andrew Bogut's foul troubles. He finished 4-11 from the field with 10 points and 7 rebounds.
More than anything, Pek's issue might be his lack of chemistry with some new teammates. He seems to think so.
"I'm just trying to feel myself out with all these guys," Pekovic said. "I know where I am, I know my role."
With Bogut's foul troubles, veteran Jermaine O'Neal spent a good amount of time on Pekovic, and did a great job inside. He only scored 5 points in his 25 minutes, but came away with 6 rebounds and 3 blocked shots as well.
The first quarter was closer to the offensive spectacle that NBA fans were hoping and expecting to see from this pair of high-octane offenses. When the second quarter rolled around, Minnesota's second unit halted what was decent offensive production.
"No rythym at all," J.J. Barea said, who struggled to get on the scoreboard tonight, finishing with 5 points on 2-5 shooting. "We tried a little bit in the first half and it didn't work. We need to just get better tomorrow and come back out on Friday."
The third quarter was all about runs. That, and Stephen Curry's injury in the quarter, after a collision with Ricky Rubio. Curry played 6 minutes in the third and never returned to the game.
The Warriors started out hot, getting their lead as high as 12. Still, the Wolves managed to get it back to a 3-point game with about 4 minutes to go. In what seemed like an instant, the Warriors got their big lead back. Closing on a buzzer-beating three pointer to end the third, the Warriors went up 79-71 going into the final quarter.
Despite the Wolves' shaky play through three quarters, the game wasn't completely out of reach. But then, Klay Thompson channelled his inner Steph Curry in the fourth quarter, going 5-6 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 30 points on 11-21 shooting from the field, and 6-9 shooting from three point range, all 6 of his threes coming in the second half. Of his 30 points, 19 of them came in that final quarter.
With Curry's absence, the Warriors went with bigger lineups in the back court, likely more than Warriors' coach Mark Jackson had planned to use. In a way, it ended up working to his advantage. When Rubio would sit, it forced Rick Adelman to put J.J. Barea on Thompson in large stints. They went with some zone sets as well, but nothing could stop the young sharpshooter. Thompson's show in the final quarter all but sealed the game for Golden State.
Golden State had a couple other key performers, including Andre Igoudala, who finished with 20 points, 6 assists and 3 steals. Thompson, Igoudala, and Harrison Barnes, who shot 6-8 for 14 points, were the only 3 Warriors players to finish the game in double figures.
The Wolves will remain in Minneapolis, and will get back to work on Friday night at the Target Center against the Dallas Mavericks. The game will be shown on FS North.