- Who: Golden State Warriors (26-24) at Minnesota Timberwolves (27-26)
- When: 7:10 PM CT
- Local TV: Bally Sports North (Michael Grady, Jim Petersen and Katie Storm)
- Radio: 830 WCCO-AM
- Line: Wolves +3.5 | Total: 238 (courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
What To Watch For
Defending a Five-Out Starting Lineup
The Timberwolves had their hands full on Monday night trying to defend the Sacramento Kings’ spaced-out lineup in overtime after Domantas Sabonis fouled out in regulation. Minnesota’s defensive rotations were bad. They over-helped, got caught out of position, and didn’t communicate effectively enough to get the job done. Rudy Gobert made some enlightening comments about what went wrong and what they need to do differently in order to be successful.
Domantas Sabonis fouled out at the end of regulation against the Wolves tonight, so for overtime the Kings went 5-out with Trey Lyles then in at the 5 -- and they went on to score 15 points in their 9 OT possessions.— Dane Moore (@DaneMooreNBA) January 31, 2023
Here's Rudy Gobert on what went wrong against the 5-out look: pic.twitter.com/yA5xjMl1ET
The great thing about the NBA is how quickly things can turn around. Minnesota will have an opportunity to see what some of those changes look like tonight against a Golden State squad with a new-look starting five of Steph Curry, Jordan Poole, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green. That lineup plays at the fastest pace in the NBA by a mile.
Tonight will be a great test to see what the Wolves can correct from OT in the Kings loss on Monday.— Jack Borman (@jrborman13) February 1, 2023
Warriors are a class above the Sabonis-less Kings, though. Excited to see what Chris Finch decides to do https://t.co/PJFym97UKZ
All five can shoot 3s, but more importantly, are positioned all over the floor and can cut, engage in PnR or DHOs, and pass from anywhere. This may be a good time for Gobert to play more aggressively up at the level of the screen when matched up with Green while Kevon Looney — their more traditional 5 — is on the bench.
One-on-one defense is paramount against a spread floor, so it could also make sense for the Wolves to give Austin Rivers more run tonight, as he gained plenty of experience guarding Curry and Poole in the playoffs last season as a member of the Denver Nuggets. I’d expect D’Angelo Russell to guard Thompson, as he has chased shooters around the perimeter in several games this season.
Anthony Edwards vs Andrew Wiggins
It’s fair to say that Edwards is a different player than he was when Golden State last came to Target Center shortly after Thanksgiving. In that game, Wiggins guarded Edwards for more than three-times as long as the next defender (Jonathan Kuminga) and did well on him. Edwards scored four points on 2/5 shooting, compared to 22 points on 5/12 shooting (and 10/11 FTs) when guarded by other Warriors defenders.
Ant will need to win that matchup in an emphatic way en route to another 30-plus-point night if the Wolves want to keep it close with a team built to find success against a more traditional drop coverage defense like Minnesota’s. The good news is that isn’t something to blink at anymore. Edwards is averaging 29.8 points per game on 49.5/44.8/80.4 shooting splits over his last 10 games, and 32 PPG on 52.3/51.2/71.0 shooting in his last five outings. He has done it against great defenders like Dillon Brooks, Herb Jones, Jarred Vanderbilt and Isaac Okoro, and has done it against teams with poor wing defenders, too.
If Edwards can use his strength and explosive first step to overwhelm Wiggins’ length and lateral quickness, he will be able to collapse a Warriors defense that is struggling to protect the rim when defenders get down there. Although they are the best team in the league at preventing looks at the rim (just 21% rim rate), they are 21st in opponent rim FG% (68%). That will only get worse with Looney now coming off the bench. Edwards will need to replicate his double-digit free throw night from November and impose his will on the Warriors’ interior defense early and often.
- Bryn Forbes (right ankle sprain)
- Rudy Gobert (right groin soreness)
- Taurean Prince (left ankle sprain)
- Jordan McLaughlin (left calf strain)
- Karl-Anthony Towns (right calf strain)
- Andre Iguodala (right hip soreness)