Instant Replay: Warriors run away from T'Wolves, win 12th straight

Instant Replay: Warriors run away from T'Wolves, win 12th straight


OAKLAND -- The winning streak rises to 12, the magic number drops to two.

Behind a sizzling third quarter Tuesday night, the Warriors roasted the Minnesota Timberwolves 121-107 before a roaring sellout crowd (19,596) at Oracle Arena.

Klay Thompson fired in a game-high 41 points to lead a Warriors offense that shot 60.9 percent over the first three quarters against a porous Minnesota defense. They shot 52.4 percent for the game.

Stephen Curry scored 19 points, Matt Barnes 12 and Andre Iguodala 11 as the Warriors overcame a 50-40 rebounding deficit.

The victory lifted the Warriors to 64-14, giving them 204 wins over the past three seasons, the most by any NBA team over a three-year span.

Any combination of wins by the Warriors and losses by the Spurs adding up to two gives the Warriors the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. They have four games remaining, the Spurs five.

Shabazz Muhammad and Andrew Wiggins scored 24 points apiece to lead Minnesota (31-46). Karl-Anthony Towns totaled 21 points. The Timberwolves shot 42.7 percent, the 12th consecutive Warriors opponent below 50 percent.

The game featured a brief skirmish between Warriors center JaVale McGee and Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng, during which the two men exchanged shoves and were issued double technical fouls. McGee also was assessed with a flagrant-1 foul.

When nobody else on the Warriors was generating much offense, Thompson kept finding ways to light up the scoreboard

Thompson’s line: 41 points (13-of-24 from the field, 7-of-14 beyond the arc, 8-of-9 from the line), three assists, two rebounds, two steals and a block. He played 33 minutes and was a team-best plus-19.

It was the 10th time in Thompson’s career, and the second this season, that he has scored at least 40 points in a game.

After Towns drained a 3-pointer to pull Minnesota within four, 73-69, with 8:39 remaining in the third quarter, the Warriors needed a little more than three minutes to respond with a 15-2 run, going up 88-73 with 5:56 left in the quarter.

The Warriors pushed the lead as high as 23 in the quarter, and the Timberwolves got no closer than 14 in the fourth.

Warriors: F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) was listed as questionable and upgraded to available prior to tipoff. F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, bone bruise) was listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the Development League.

Timberwolves: F Nemanja Bjelica (L foot fracture), G Zach LaVine (L knee surgery) and C Nikola Pekovic (R ankle soreness) were listed as out.

The Warriors left immediately after the game for Phoenix, where on Wednesday night they face the Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:05.


Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue taking 'step back from coaching for the time being'


Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue taking 'step back from coaching for the time being'

The Cavaliers are going to be without head coach Tyronn Lue indefinitely.

On Monday morning, Lue issued the following statement through the team:

"After many conversations with our doctors and Koby and much thought given to what is best for the team and my health, I need to step back from coaching for the time being and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation from which to coach for the rest of the season.

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season. My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the Championship we are all working towards.

I greatly appreciate Dan Gilbert, Koby Altman, our medical team and the organization's support throughout."

Lue has had to leave multiple games early this season due to his health.

Get well, Tyronn.

Quinn Cook states his case for spot on Warriors playoff roster

Quinn Cook states his case for spot on Warriors playoff roster

Because it’s only two games against two of the worst teams in the NBA, it’s prudent to resist the temptation to fall in love with Quinn Cook.

Putting up Stephen Curry numbers in consecutive games does not make one Stephen Curry.

It’s impossible, though, not to clearly understand why the Warriors have consistently expressed faith in Cook, the two-way point guard who has spent three years trying to make an NBA team.

Two fine games are enough, though, for the coaching staff to recommend adding him to the postseason roster. It’s wise to have a contingency in case Curry has to miss any of the games that matter most, and the Warriors are a smart bunch.

Cook on Saturday told reporters in Phoenix that the Warriors have not addressed the possibility of being on the postseason roster. That doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about it.

“He’s proven that he can compete at this level,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters Saturday night in Phoenix. “The last couple games, you’re seeing what he can do. He’s a great shooter. We’ve known that."

Cook scored, on back-to-back nights, 25 and 28 points, shooting 70 percent (21-of-30) from the field, including 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from deep. That’s Curry-type quality when he’s on a roll. Cook also handled the ball well, recorded seven assists and was pesky enough on defense to nab five steals.

“Quinn is showing the world that he is an NBA player,” Draymond Green said.

Cook’s 10 3-pointers over the past two games are more than anybody not named Curry, Durant or Thompson have drained over a similar stretch -- and only Nick Young among the team’s reserves have made more over any single month.

The Warriors, it just so happens, are dead last in 3-pointers made by reserves, averaging 2.0 per game, with Young accounting for 1.5 per game.

Cook is showing he might be able to help with this.

Kerr loves 3-point shooters. General manager Bob Myers is fond of saying he can never have too many shooters.

The Warriors are discovering they can’t have too many capable point guards, particularly when Cook is proving that he, like Curry, also is comfortable playing off the ball. Pairing Cook with Shaun Livingston, the primary backup to Curry, is a nice option to have.

“I’ve said all along,” Green said. “I sit here and watch so many other teams play and I wonder, ‘How is Quinn Cook a two-way player?' And then you’ve got guys in the league that can’t dribble with their left hand, or can’t go left, can’t go right, but you’ve got a guy like that as a two-way player.

“So I’m happy for him. I pray that he gets rewarded and gets what he deserves.”

Cook had brief trial runs with the Pelicans, as a rookie, and the Mavericks last season. He played a total of 14 games with the two teams. He has played 21 with the Warriors, seven as a starter, but only in the last two has he looked entirely comfortable in his role and with these teammates.

With Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Curry out, the Warriors need Cook to score. He knows he needs to score. He is scoring. And doing a few other things, too.

“Playing in the NBA is something that I’ve dreamed of my whole life,” Cook said after his 28-point performance in a win over the Suns. “I can’t really put it into words, just being able to put on an NBA jersey night in and night out, practice with an NBA team every day, has been my goal since I can remember. I’m just trying to get better every day and live in the moment. I’m just trying to win games. I’m trying to help out as much as possible, whether it’s getting guys shots, playing defense, shooting the ball.

“Lately the ball’s been going in a little bit. But with three All-Stars out, I’ve got to step up. I’m just taking it game by game and competing night in and night out.”

Sometime early next month, if not late this month, the Warriors expect to have their starting backcourt. Curry and Thompson will have returned before the playoffs begin April 14-15, and both will need to be available if for reasonable chance to repeat as champs.

But Cook is making his case for inclusion. He’ll get another test Monday night in San Antonio, where Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is sure to throw at Cook a few wrinkles he may not have seen, but the Warriors have seen enough to know he can help.

“He’s a good fit for us, too,” Kerr said. “It’s not just his ability. It’s his maturity. He’s very professional, does whatever is asked, the guys love him. They want to go to war with him.

“He’s a guy. He’s an NBA guy. We’re lucky to have him.”

That’s not an demand, or even a preference. To add Cook to the roster, the Warriors would have to shed one of their 15 players currently on a standard NBA contract.

But somewhere among Kerr’s words, I believe I see an endorsement.