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Game Preview 17: Wolves vs Warriors Part 2

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The Wolves have a rematch against the Warriors

NBA: Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves (4-12) vs the Golden State Warriors (9-8)
9:00 CST
ESPN

The Wolves get a rematch tonight against the Warriors after losing on Monday. The team was outmatched and while they were able to keep the score within reach most of the game, the Warriors simply had to push on the gas slightly to put the game back out of reach. Tonight, the Wolves will be facing a similar challenge, as they will likely be without D’Angelo Russell once again and now Jarrett Culver will join the injury list due to a left ankle sprain.

Frankly, the Warriors are an opponent the Wolves could beat on a normal day. But those normal days are far off in the distance when Karl-Anthony Towns and Russell are able to make it back on the court. For now, the Wolves will have to contend with trying to not get blown out.

In these games with KAT, the talent mismatches become all the more glaring. If a team has a superstar big like Nikola Jokic, the Wolves have no recourse when the team runs their offense through the Center. When a team has a superstar guard like Steph Curry, the Wolves have to sell-out on defense to prevent easy three-pointers, which pokes holes in their defensive rotations leaving wide-open threes for other players and an open lane.

This is the problem when playing against Steph Curry. It just feels even worse now watching Andrew Wiggins waltz into the lane after Curry draws the attention from three defenders. Ricky Rubio simply must play better tonight if the Wolves are going to have a chance. He has defended Curry well in the past, but struggled on Monday on both ends of the court.

The other excitement of the night will come from the 1st and 2nd overall pick (both coming off the bench). Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman have shown the promise of their skyless potential, but also have exhibited the rookie growing pains that have been exacerbated in this strange COVID season.

But of course, the real attention will be paid to the woe-begotten Timberwolves franchise and how Andrew Wiggins has blossomed in Golden State after languishing in Minnesota. Whether or not there is truth to that statement, or judging how much the Wolves “lost” the trade the past Spring, the Wolves frustratingly hold onto their incomplete grade.

After all, without Russell and Towns playing, how can the Wolves be assessed? Without that knowledge, it would be implausible to take any evaluations from the players, coaching, or front office. This way the Wolves can occupy that special sweet spot of a tanking team that has already traded away its draft assets.

Projected Starting Lineups

Minnesota Timberwolves

Ricky Rubio
Malik Beasley
Josh Okogie
Jarred Vanderbilt
Naz Reid

Golden State Warriors

Steph Curry
Andrew Wiggins
Kelly Oubre
Draymond Green
Kevon Looney