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Warriors catch fire in Shanghai, beat Wolves 142-110

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Splash Brothers got to splashin’ in Shanghai.

When Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and the Warriors catch fire from deep, there isn’t much any NBA team can do to contain them. The Splash Brothers got to doing what they do best early Sunday morning to ensure the Warriors wouldn’t make the long trip back to the bay winless in China.

Curry caught fire in Shanghai, scoring 40 points in only three quarters of play, to lead the Warriors to the 142-110 blowout victory in the second, and final, exhibition contest of the NBA China Games. Thompson added 28 points, going 8-10 from deep. The nets were on fire. (You can watch the full highlights here.)

Curry and the Warriors looked to be in midseason form, putting their foot down on the pedal after an entertaining first quarter that ended in the Wolves leading 44-36. It was hard to tell if the defenses were both that bad in the first or if the offenses are both that talented. The Warriors went into full gear with a few minutes left in the first half and never looked back. The final score: 142-100. Golden State made it rain from deep. The most common thought that ran through my head while watching this was, “Are we going to guard the perimeter???”

It’s tough to say what can really be taken away from this game. The Wolves are obviously trying to mesh with so many new faces, and it’s been clear through three preseason games the defense is still very much a work in progress. But that’s to be expected at this point in the process. While the Warriors are an entirely different animal and extremely tough to stop in transition and on the perimeter, these have stuck out as key issues the Wolves will have to clean up moving forward.

Golden State simply has a way of exposing team’s on the break and from behind the arc like nobody else can, so again, it’s hard to tell how big of an issue these areas might be in the regular season. But these still feel like problems that will need to be corrected; they were big issues last season.

FULL BOX SCORE + TAKEAWAYS

  • Karl-Anthony Towns traveled twice, shuffling his feet both times, for two quick turnovers in the game. (I didn’t agree with either ticky-tacky call.) He scored 16 points (6-10) but finished with six turnovers.
  • Andrew Wiggins scored a team-high 21 points (9-13) to go with a very Andrew Wiggins stat line of one assist and one turnover. The efficient scoring was promising to see, but of course Max deal Wiggins needs to do more.
  • Jimmy Butler had 15-6-5-2. 9-10 from the line. Mr. Buckets does it all.
  • Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined to go 14-19 from three. The duo scored 68 points on 37 shots. I’m sure Warriors fans enjoyed the show. I did not.
  • Rookie Jordan Bell kicked ass in six minutes. OF COURSE the Warriors got Jordan Bell.

A few things I liked

  • Jimmy Butler reminds me of an elite NFL cornerback who can jump a route, intercept the pass, and take it home for six. I love his anticipation and off-ball awareness. He baits opponents into passes. He had one beautiful read that resulted in a steal and the bucket plus the foul in transition.
  • Towns’ passing! I predict KAT is going to breakout as a passer this season. He’s already had a few eye-opening dishes during the preseason and he’s been making some sweet extra passes. Towns made me shake my head with this pass, which resulted in Wiggins drawing the foul at the other end:
  • The passing and cutting in general has been good to see in the preseason. I love the way they are moving the ball and working off-ball with backdoor cuts and screens. There doesn’t seem to be as much iso-ball as last season, which is a big relief.
  • Jamal Crawford can still do this...