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Game Preview #63: Warriors at Wolves

Minnesota looks to split the season series against Golden State in a potential playoff preview.

2022 NBA All-Star - All Star Practice Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

In an alternate universe with no play-in tournament and a postseason that begins in March, the 2nd seed Golden State Warriors would be hosting the 7th seed Minnesota Timberwolves today. In that same alternate universe, the national pundits have heavily favored the lower ranked Steph Curry-Ricky Rubio Wolves to upset the Jonny Flynn-Andrew Wiggins Warriors. In that timeline, Canis Hoopus is a world wide brand with jakesgraphs pumping out sick Wolves merch for the world to feast on.

Alas...


Game Info

Who: Golden State Warriors (43-18; 2nd) at Minnesota Timberwolves (33-29; 7th)
When: 7:00 pm CST
TV: Bally Sports North
Radio: 830 WCCO AM Radio
Line: Wolves +1.5 (courtesy of DraftKings)


Injury Report


What To Watch For

  • The Warriors most recent game came against the Mavericks on Sunday, where they blew a league/season-worst 19-point 4th quarter lead at home. They were outscored 13-33 in the final period. They’re certainly going to come into tonight’s tilt focused and wanting to prove a point. Will the Wolves be able to match their intensity?
  • When these two teams last faced off on January 27, it was the All-Star starter announcement game. Despite the Wolves shooting 10 of 44 from perimeter, they still got a “moral victory” as they were able to stay within 5 points with 5:17 remaining in the game and 8 points with 1:54 remaining. Steph got loose late and finished the Wolves off, but Klay Thompson also played a big part in the victory as he poured in an, at the time, season-high 23 points. Without the latter in the equation tonight, Steph is going to need help in form of former #1 pick and recent NBA All-Star starter, Andrew Wiggins. I’m also expecting Jordan Poole, who scored 19 points in 24 minutes last time, to make a splash.
  • The previous matchup also included D’Angelo Russell going down with a shin contusion, playing just a couple minutes in the 2nd half. He would have likely made a difference as he has been a crucial cog both offensively and defensively for this Minnesota team. He also has yet to have a true “revenge game” against the team that rented him for just 3 short months a few years ago. I’ll be carefully watching his performance tonight.
  • The Warriors defensive rating since Draymond Green has been out has dropped from an astounding 101.9 to a much less intimidating 109.3. That said, it’s still likely going to be an tough battle for the Wolves as they will likely try to outgun the Warriors. Throwing 2 or 3 (or 5) bodies at Steph is a lot more complicated than it probably sounds, but Coach Finch will certainly be keying in on him. Can the Wolves stay disciplined on limiting Steph?

Predictions

  • After previously putting up 31-16-6, KAT continues with his demolition of the Warriors for his second 40-point game of the season. A season-high 8 three pointers made leave no doubt who the best shooter on the court is tonight.
  • D’Lo, who’s been scoring 27.7 points on 56% shooting since turning 26 years old, stays in the zone. Give him 8 made treys tonight as well.
  • The pair of Wolves making 8 triples each ends up ripping open a worm hole in Target Center. The fans who get distracted by the glimpses of Derrick Williams and Darrick Martin are sucked into the vacuum. Timberwolves 120, Warriors 104 (Minnesota cover outright).

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