The numbers were better, particularly early, but the result in the second preseason game was the same as in the first. A Warriors loss, this time 111-95 to the Timberwolves on Thursday at Shenzhen Universiade Center in Shenzhen, China.
The defending champions, midway through their abbreviated four-game preseason schedule, are 0-2. The next game, also against Minnesota, is scheduled for Sunday in Shanghai.
Though the Warriors were sharp early, their starting lineup racing out to first-quarter leads of 15-4 and 23-13 and taking a 32-20 lead into the second quarter, they were outscored 91-63 over the final 36 minutes.
With coach Steve Kerr leaning on reserves in the fourth quarter, the Warriors took a 32-12 beating.
Kevin Durant finished with 20 points to lead all scorers, while Stephen Curry put in 14 points, Klay Thompson 13 and Zaza Pachulia 10. Draymond Green scored only 5 points but led the team in assists (eight) and tied for the lead with six rebounds.
Here are five takeaways from the game:
SOLID STARTERS: The starting five of Curry, Thompson, Durant, Green and Pachulia was sharp early, building a lead behind defensive intensity before tailing off slightly in later stints. Still, this group shot a combined 58.1 percent overall and 50.0 percent beyond the arc. Curry and Green tied for team-highs in plus-minus, each at plus-8.
SAGGING SWAGY: Offseason acquisition Nick “Swagy P” Young, hired to provide offense off the bench, had his second forgettable night. The veteran wing played 16 minutes, totaling 7 points (3-of-8 from the field, 1-of-5 from deep, 0-of-5 from the line), two rebounds, zero assists and one turnover. There were times when he seemed utterly lost.
ROTATION GAMES: It is evident Kerr is tinkering with rotations, perhaps in an effort to best divide playing time for a roster with 17 available players. JaVale McGee, for example, entered later than usual in the first quarter and opened the second (which he never does) before giving way to David West with 9:19 left in the half.
ENDURANCE ISSUES: As reflected in the score, the Warriors started with tremendous energy but faltered over the final three quarters. The crispness and vigor shown in the opening minutes gave way sloppy/lazy play typical of teams not in peak conditioning. Kerr noted as much after the game.
YOUNG BIGS: Rookie Jordan Bell was more effective in seven minutes than second-year center Damian Jones was in 11. And Jones spent considerable time with members of the starting lineup. One of these players is going to spend more time in the G-League than in the NBA. Through two games, the rookie seems to have a slight edge.