NBA Gameday: Draymond will get bulk of the load guarding Towns

NBA Gameday: Draymond will get bulk of the load guarding Towns

Programming note: Warriors-T'wolves coverage starts tonight at 6:30pm with Warriors Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus, and streaming with the NBC Sports App. (CHANNEL LISTINGS)

OAKLAND -- Closing in on the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs, the Warriors chase their 12th consecutive win Tuesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Warriors (63-14) have spent recent weeks following their defense, holding opponents to 41.4 percent during their 11-game streak. A victory over Minnesota would give the Warriors 204 wins over the past three seasons, setting an NBA record for such a span.

Any combination of Warriors wins and Spurs losses equaling three gives the Warriors homecourt advantage throughout the postseason.

The Timberwolves (31-45) made a brief run toward the playoffs in early March before a six-game losing streak extinguished all hope. They’re on the second night of a back-to-back set, defeating Portland 110-109 Monday night in Minneapolis.


Warriors by 14.5


Draymond Green & Co. vs. Karl-Anthony Towns: Towns, who torched the Blazers for 34 points and 12 rebounds Monday, is averaging 31.7 points and 10.7 rebounds over his last three games. The Warriors will rotate the defensive assignments on Towns, but the bulk of the load will fall to Green, who gives away five inches in height. Green is playing his usual tremendous defense and will need to continue that to have any chance of containing Towns.


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

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


Warriors: 10-0. Timberwolves: 3-7.


The Warriors have won two of three this season and 16 of the last 19. They have won 15 of the last 20 in Oakland.


NO D IN TIMBERWOLVES: Minnesota ranks 28th in field-goal percentage defense, 25th in defensive rating and 19th in 3-point percentage defense. Such poor defense tends to be an issue against the Warriors, who during their streak are shooting 51.1 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from deep.

COMFORTS OF HOME: The Warriors own the league’s best home record (33-4), while the T-Wolves are 11-25 away from Minneapolis (20-20 at home). They’ll also be on the second night of a back-to-back set. The Wolves are not much of a comeback team (9-42 when trailing after three quarters), but the Warriors surely remember blowing a lead to them last season at Oracle. They’ll have their guard up.

THE PAINT GAME: The Warriors’ game plan will require them to be stout in the paint and keep the Timberwolves off the offensive glass. Minnesota, which is 9-30 when outrebounded, ranks ninth in paint points per game (48.2) and third in second-chance points (14.8).

Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns


Warriors need vets to bounce back against young Suns

The Warriors have lost three of their last four games, their roster is in shambles and, still, they look like pure gold in contrast to the Suns team they’re facing Saturday night in Phoenix.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 7:05.

Reeling from the absences of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors (52-17) showed plenty of the scrap in losing to the Kings on Friday in Oakland but couldn’t get much offense from their veterans.

The Suns (19-51) are having the worst season since 1968-69, their inaugural season. They’ve lost seven in a row, 16 of their last 17 and 21 of their last 23.


Warriors by 3


Quinn Cook vs. Elfrid Payton: Payton bolted to a 16-point first quarter and scored 29 the last time he faced the Warriors. Quinn is coming off a career-high 25-point game. With teams relying on diminished rosters, whichever of the two young PGs can set a tone gives his team an advantage.


Warriors: G Omri Casspi (R ankle sprain), G Stephen Curry (R ankle tweak), F Kevin Durant (R rib soreness), G Pat McCaw (L wrist fracture) and G Klay Thompson (R thumb fracture) are listed as out.

Suns: G Devin Booker (R hand sprain) and F Alan Williams (R meniscus tear) are listed as questionable. G Brandon Knight (L ACL tear) is listed as out.


Warriors: 7-3.

Suns: 1-9.


Tony Brothers (crew chief), Jacyn Goble, James Williams


The Warriors won the first of four meetings this season, 129-83 on Feb. 12 at Oracle Arena. They swept all four games last season and are 12-1 against the Suns in the Steve Kerr era.


MOTIVATED VETS: Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Zaza Pachulia, David West and Nick Young, expected to generate offense, combined to shoot 19-of-59 (32.2 percent) in a five-point loss Friday. They must be better; they can’t be much worse. Phoenix leads the NBA in points allowed.

THE BIG MEN: JaVale McGee started nine straight games at center, but Pachulia started the last two. The Suns are long up front, so McGee could be in line for a start or more minutes. In addition, Damian Jones, the team’s other 7-footer, also could get playing time.

STREAKING WITH THREES: The Suns own the longest active streak of games with at least one 3-point make (1,128). The Warriors are No. 2 (1,121). Both streaks are endangered. Curry, Thompson and Durant are out for the Warriors. Booker will either sit out or play with a splint on his shooting hand.

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

Cook gives injured Warriors 'huge boost' in anomalous loss

OAKLAND -- If Quinn Cook plays at anything close to the level he performed Friday night against the Kings, the Warriors should avoid any catastrophic stumbling in the absence of their top three scorers.

They stumbled plenty in a 98-93 loss to Sacramento, but not because of Cook. The two-way player who has spent most of the season with G-League Santa Cruz scored a team-high 25 points, shot 10-of-13 from the field and played respectable defense.

He did more than could have been reasonably expected.

“I felt like this was coming,” coach Steve Kerr said. “He was fantastic. He really lit it up and gave us a huge boost.”

The Warriors ran into problems elsewhere, shared among the usually reliable veterans who need to be particularly reliable in the absence of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

Usual starters Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia combined to shoot 6-of-20.

Usual reserves Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, David West and Nick Young shot a collective 13-of-39.

In the second half, when Warriors mustered only 34 points -- a season-low for any half -- the six vets combined to take 32 shots and missed 24.

Those are atrocious numbers and they explain what went wrong in a game that was there for the taking.

They’re also an anomaly.

“We just couldn’t get anything going,” Green said. “But we got some good shots. We got ‘Dre on a couple of pull-ups in the lane, I got a couple open shots, Nick got a couple open shots, Zaza got a couple open ones. D-West had one pop in and out. (Kevon Looney) had two pop in and out.

“We just got cold. But hopefully those shots will fall tomorrow.”

West, returning after missing four games with a cyst on his right arm, was 1-of-6 from the field. He came into this game as a 60.8-percent shooter this season.

Igoudala was 4-of-10; he shot 70 percent over the previous 10 games. Young was 5-of-15, well below his 44-percent shooting this season. Livingston’s 3-of-8 shooting is uncharacteristic of someone shooting at least 50 percent for four years running.

If history is any indication, Green (5-of-14) and Pachulia (1-of-6) are not going continue to miss at the rate they did in this game, the first this season in which the Warriors were without all three of their top scorers.

If history is any indication, the Warriors can’t be counted on to score 34 points on 27.3-percent shooting in the second half of a game.

“I loved how our guys battled,” Kerr said. “They really competed well and made some big plays. We just couldn’t get the ball to go down quite enough in the second half.”

That’s going to change, perhaps as soon as Saturday night in Phoenix, were the Suns are playing to lose.

So if Cook plays steady basketball, the Warriors will fall off and their fans won’t become a basket case while waiting for the three shooters. The Warriors surely believe that.

“He really showed up. I’ve been waiting on that Quinn,” Green said. “We needed that. It was great for him to come out and play like that. And most importantly, his shots were falling. Since he’s been playing (more often) he’s been playing well, but his shots weren’t really falling. But tonight, they fell for him.”

They won’t always fall at a rate of 77 percent. They won’t have to once his teammates drop in a few more of their own shots.