OAKLAND -- In their effort to reassert dominance at home, the Warriors can expect a tough test Thursday night, when the Minnesota Timberwolves visit Oracle Arena.
Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.
The Warriors (38-10) have lost three of their last eight homes games, which is a dramatic drop for a team that over the last three seasons won 92.7 percent of its games at Oracle. As an experiment, the Warriors on Thursday altered their routine, going without a morning shootaround.
It should be to their advantage that Minnesota (31-19) is playing for the second time in two nights, having lost Wednesday in Portland. The Timberwolves under Tom Thibodeau also have been particularly vulnerable late in games, ranking 29th in fourth-quarter margin at minus-1.7. The Warriors in November had a 44-point third quarter against Minnesota.
Warriors by 11
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Draymond Green & Co. vs. Karl-Anthony Towns: Any conversation about the best under-25 big man in the league includes Towns. Selected this week for his first All-Star Game, the 22-year-old is 7-foot, with the agility and skills of a small forward. He’s averaging 19.9 points on 53.9-percent shooting (41.4 percent from deep), 12.1 rebounds and 1.52 blocks. The Warriors have been effective in the past using double teams, a strategy that is riskier with Minnesota’s improved offense. Though three or four different Warriors might take turns on him, Green surely will be in the mix.
Warriors: G Klay Thompson (L glute contusion) is listed as probable. G Pat McCaw (mid-back strain) is listed as out. F Jordan Bell (L ankle inflammation) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.
Timberwolves: G Jimmy Butler (R knee soreness) is listed as questionable.
Marc Davis (crew chief), Matt Boland, Scott Twardoski
The Warriors won the first of three meetings this season, 125-101, on Nov. 8 at Oracle. They won three of four meetings last season, 11 of the last 13 and 24 of the last 29 overall.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
THE STARTING BLOCKS: The Warriors have been notoriously slow starters this season, and it’s most prevalent at home. Though they usually pull themselves together, late rallies aren’t always enough to get the victory. The decision to skip the morning shootaround is indicative of the coaching staff seeking answers.
THE TURNOVER GAME: The Warriors are prone to turnovers (15.3 per game, 28th in the league) and that tendency could get them in trouble against the Timberwolves, who are No. 2 at forcing turnovers (15.3) and No. 3 in converting them into points (18.7).
KD VS. WIGGINS: Veteran SF Kevin Durant, averaging 25.9 points on 51-percent shooting, may be the most complete scorer in the league. Andre Wiggins, at age 22, has been on an offensive tear lately, though, averaging 31.0 points on 57.6-percent shooting over the last three games. Though either is capable of going off, Durant is the vastly superior defender.