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Game Preview #64: Warriors at Wolves

Draft Day. A Wiggins.

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Game Info

Who: Golden State Warriors (31-31) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (19-44)

When: 7:00 pm CT

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio

What To Watch For

If you only consumed the NBA on Twitter, you’d think these two teams are in completely opposite positions going in opposite directions.

Warriors Twitter was apoplectic after a 30-point thrashing at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, while Wolves Twitter has actually started to believe in the future of their franchise after Minnesota improved Tuesday to 9-6 with Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell in the lineup this season, and 4-1 in their last five games.

Golden State’s rotation has been riddled by injuries over the course of the last month. James Wiseman, Steph Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Juan Toscano-Anderson, Draymond Green, and Eric Paschall have all missed games at some point in that time frame, which has been a tough development for the Warriors’ push to stay out of the play-in tournament. Despite that, they have won seven of their last 10 games; however, they currently sit 10th in the standings right now, 3.5 games back of the sixth places Mavericks, so tonight is a huge tilt for the Dubs.

Minnesota, meanwhile, has only gotten healthier over the same period with D’Angelo Russell and Jaylen Nowell making their returns to the active roster, which has only amplified an offense that already showed signs of revitalization after the All-Star break under Chris Finch. The Wolves are 12-15 since the break, which is good for 22nd in the NBA. They are 7-6 with D-Lo back in the lineup and are a missed out-of-bounds call on unanimous Rookie of the Year Tyrese Haliburton from 8-5.

Tonight is a landmark game for the two franchises, as it is the first time they’ve played in Minnesota since last year’s deadline deal that sent Andrew Wiggins to The Bay and brought Russell to the Twin Cities.

Earlier this afternoon, Wiggins spoke to the media and had nothing but glowing things to say about his time in Minneapolis, specifically in regard to those he met during his Wolves career.

When he steps on the Target Center floor tonight, he’ll need to have a big impact if Golden State wants to complete their sweep of the Timberwolves this season.

Oubre Jr. is out again tonight for the Warriors with a wrist injury and Steve Kerr hasn’t had a consistent complementary scorer that can pick up the slack when Curry is on the bench for essentially the entire season. Green could look to be more of a scorer tonight, since he is much bigger and more physical than any wing Minnesota has. If Anthony Edwards guards his fellow Klutch Sports Group client, we could see some more fireworks

Wiggins had a very strong start to April in terms of producing consistently with good offensive efficiency, but has been rather volatile over the last handful of games; the type of Andrew Wiggins we see tonight will likely be the deciding factor in whether or not Minnesota keeps the good times rollin’, or Golden State can gain steam for one last playoff standings push before the regular season concludes. That, of course, assumes Curry will continue his reign of historic terror on the NBA this month. He’s made 90 3s in April, which is the most in any month in the history of the league.

On the Minnesota side of the house, Towns should have a big night. Kevon Looney is slow and struggles to defend in space, which the Big KAT should take full advantage of, much like he did against Derrick Favors and the Jazz. Golden State will likely have to put Green on Towns, which would create a fun matchup of Edwards vs Wiggins on the wing, and open up Josh Okogie to again make an impact offensively with a center guarding him. If Okogie can knock down shots, Minnesota should have no problem making the Warriors defense work and consistently get open looks with the offensive firepower they have.

Injury Reports

For Minnesota, Malik Beasley remains out with his grade 3 hamstring strain, but he has returned to on-court activities. Finch said the team is hopeful they will have him back for “a handful” of games before the end of the season.

The Timberwolves also announced today that Jarrett Culver will be out for the rest of the season with a nagging ankle injury, which he initially suffered against the Warriors back in January. He will have it surgically repaired on May 7, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic, in a move Finch expects will allow him to have a full summer of development work in Minneapolis.

For Golden State, Kelly Oubre Jr. is out with a wrist injury. James Wiseman is out for the rest of the season with a torn meniscus.