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Warriors Dominate Third Quarter, Rout Wolves

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Things fell apart quickly for the Wolves in the third quarter tonight.

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

It was only a matter of time.

The Wolves were blown out tonight by the Golden State Warriors by a score of 121-107. It wasn’t that close. This one was over late in the third quarter, after a monster Warriors run put the game away.

The Wolves managed to hang around in the first half and went to the break trailing by eight despite getting hammered in transition and from beyond the arc, mostly thanks to strong offensive rebounding and solid scoring from Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio. They actually closed to within four early in the third quarter on a Towns three, but things quickly fell apart after that.

The Warriors are just relentless in pushing the ball up the floor and their passing sliced the Wolves defense to shreds; in addition, Klay Thompson was on fire from the opening tip, and eventually the Wolves just couldn’t keep up. The Warriors talent and depth was far too much for them on a back-to-back.

In truth, I’m not sure what else to say about this one. It was a game the Wolves were never going to win. Especially problematic was their inability to force turnovers, something that occasionally plagues Golden State. Through three quarters, the Warriors only turned it over eight times (compared to 11 by the Wolves,) and if you don’t win the turnover battle against the Warriors you have no chance at all.

The Wolves also could not find the range from three. They made only four of 17 through the first three quarters, while the Warriors poured in 14. Ricky Rubio, who shot the mid-range very well in the first half, couldn’t buy one from beyond the arc, finishing 0-6. The Warriors did a terrific job of taking away passing lanes from Rubio, forcing him to shoot it, and while he made his share in the first half, eventually he cooled off. Of course, he also spent most of the night chasing Stephen Curry all over the floor, which he did with reasonable effectiveness.

Meanwhile, the Warriors found easy shot after easy shot in transition off Wolves misses and turnovers, and in the half-court with their passing and cutting game that is spectacular to watch if your team isn’t on the receiving end.

Let’s just finish up with some notes

  • Klay Thompson finished with 41 on 24 FGAs. It felt easy.
  • Kris Dunn fouls a lot. This is not unusual for a rookie. What’s interesting to me is he doesn’t really foul because he’s late or because he’s lazy, he fouls because he’s so damn aggressive. Hopefully he can maintain that and figure out how to cut down on the whistles.
  • The Warriors doubled Towns hard for much of the game, and he only wound up with 10 FGAs (and eight makes) in 28 minutes.
  • The difference in depth between these teams is huge. To say nothing of the star power, the Warriors are bringing multi-skilled players like Andre Iguodala and David West off the bench.
  • Adreian Payne and Jordan Hill (!) both played tonight. And both scored! Payne in fact had one of his better outings of the season.
  • Shabazz Muhammad finished with 24 and 11 (amazingly, eight of those boards were on the offensive end) though much of it was in the 4th quarter, which was garbage time.
  • Dunn and Tyus Jones failed to score in 36 combined minutes.