NBA Gameday: Curry, Warriors need to push tempo against T'Wolves

NBA Gameday: Curry, Warriors need to push tempo against T'Wolves

Programming note: Warriors-Timberwolves coverage starts today at 4pm with Warriors Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

The Warriors continue their quest for rediscovery Friday night, when they have the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.

The Warriors (52-12) have lost three of their last five games, including Wednesday night, when they fell apart in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics. The Kevin Durant injury hangover is real, and the Warriors are struggling to make the adjustment.

After foundering for much of the season, the Timberwolves (26-37) may be onto something. They have, for the first time this season, won five of six games, including the last three in a row. It has them among five other teams vying for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.


Warriors by 5.5


Warriors big men vs. Karl-Anthony Towns. KAT is a member of the NBA’s elite-big-men-under-25 movement. Only 21, he leads all centers in scoring (24.1 points per game) and double-doubles (48). In their attempt to contain him, the Warriors will use a variety of defenders, from Zaza Pachulia to Draymond Green to JaVale McGee to David West. The goal is to prevent Towns from putting his signature on the game.


Warriors: G Shaun Livingston (rest) and F Kevin Durant (L knee sprain, tibial bone bruise) are listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League.

Timberwolves: G/F Brandon Rush (illness) is listed as probable. G Zach LaVine (L knee surgery) and C Nikola Pekovic (Chronic R ankle pain) are listed as out.


Warriors: 6-4. Timberwolves: 6-4.


The Warriors have 22 of the last 26 overall and 10 in a row in Minneapolis.


CONTRAST IN SIZES: The Warriors prefer to play small because that’s where they have the most success. The Wolves, however, are long and athletic. The season-ending injury to LaVine moved 6-7, 215-pound Brandon Rush into starting lineup; he’s expected to play. Up front are 6-8, 200-pound Andrew Wiggins, 6-11 Gorgui Dieng and Towns, who is 7 feet. Unable to match such length, the Warriors will be forced to rely on scrap and getting into transition.

THE TRIPLES GAME: The Warriors, who rank third in 3-point shooting percentage, are slumping: 30.7 percent over the last seven games. The T-Wolves have been one of the league’s worst teams beyond the arc all season, shooting 34.9 percent to rank 22nd. With Minny ranking 15th in 3-point defense, this is an opportunity for the Warriors to find their splash game.

THE PACE GAME: Though the T-Wolves are young, coach Tom Thibodeau has them playing mostly deliberate basketball; they rank 25th in pace. That helps keep games close. The Warriors want to run whenever possible, regardless of circumstances, so it’ll be up to Stephen Curry and the bench to push tempo in hopes of lulling Minny out of its comfort zone.

Draymond Green knocked out of game vs Spurs with 'a midsection issue'


Draymond Green knocked out of game vs Spurs with 'a midsection issue'

Already down three All-Stars, the Warriors lost their fourth midway through the first half on Monday night.

With just over nine minutes remaining in the second quarter against the Spurs, Draymond Green took a knee from a driving Danny Green.

Draymond was in immediate pain and left the court for the locker room.

Just before the end of the first half, NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke reported that Green was ruled out for the rest of the game with a "midsection issue."

The Warriors are currently playing without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant. All three are dealing with injuries that will keep them out several games.

What if they don't win the title? Joe Lacob says Warriors 'looking at different options'


What if they don't win the title? Joe Lacob says Warriors 'looking at different options'

The Warriors were the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

That is probably going to change this season, as they trail the Rockets by three games (although it's really four because Houston has the tiebreaker) with 12 games to play (and only lead the Raptors by one game).

What does owner Joe Lacob think about his team right now?

“We’ve had our best team we’ve ever had this year,” Lacob recently told Mark Medina of the Bay Area News Group (read the full story here). “We have to go prove it on the court, but we have enough to win it.

"It doesn’t mean we will, but we are certainly set up to have the opportunity potentially to do that. That’s about all you can ask.”

Things can change in an instant and Lacob understands that.

That's why he's constantly discussing scenarios with Warriors GM Bob Myers and the rest of Golden State's decision-makers.

“We’ll build around that core until we decide maybe we shouldn’t," Lacob told BANG. "But right now it feels pretty good. These guys are all performing at a great level. We love them as part of our organization.

"I don’t really see doing anything major. But you never really know. We have to evaluate when the season is over. It’s very hard when you’re in the middle of it all to see it objectively.”

What happens if the Warriors don't win the championship this year?

We will leave you with this quote Lacob gave BANG.

“Maybe we will emphasize continuity. Or maybe we will make a big move. We’re looking at different options, given different things playing out in different ways.

"I think you should always be doing that.”

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller