Warriors

Gameday: Draymond vs Towns at Oracle Arena

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USATSI

Gameday: Draymond vs Towns at Oracle Arena

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.

BETTING LINE

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.

INJURY REPORT

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.

LAST 10

Warriors: 8-2.

Timberwolves: 7-3.

GAME OFFICIALS

Marc Davis (crew chief), Matt Boland, Scott Twardoski

SERIES HISTORY

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.

Draft prospect Michael Porter Jr says he's 'a little more physical' than Kevin Durant

Draft prospect Michael Porter Jr says he's 'a little more physical' than Kevin Durant

Michael Porter Jr. is...

... a confident soon-to-be 20-year old (his birthday is June 29).

How do we know this? Well, he said the following to Damon Amendolara of CBS Sports:

"Right now, I would say I'm a mix of Giannis and KD. I like going to the hole a little more than KD does. I like bumping into people; a little more physical than KD.

[LISTEN: Warriors Outsiders Podcast: Joe Lacob takes inventory; Melvin Frazier loves playing defense]

"But I like to shoot the ball a little more than Giannis. So that's what I like to compare myself to -- and also Tracy McGrady. I get compared to him a lot, and I like that one a lot, too.

"Those are three amazing players. It doesn't feel bad to be in the same conversation as them."

More physical than Kevin Durant, eh?

The 2017 and 2018 Finals MVP averaged 7.2 free throw attempts per game in the 2018 playoffs.

Who do you think is more looking forward to facing Porter next season -- Durant or Draymond Green?

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

‘01 Lakers vs ‘18 Warriors: Who you got?

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NBCSBA

‘01 Lakers vs ‘18 Warriors: Who you got?

The 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers went 56-26 in the regular season in defense of the previous season's championship. But the team, led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, stormed through the playoffs, and lost just once en route to a second straight title.

"I'll take that '01 [Lakers] team against anybody in the history of the game," Bryant told Alex Kennedy of the HoopsHype Podcast last week. "Any team."

But what about another back-to-back champion? We're talking about the 2017-18 Golden State Warriors.

‘01 Lakers vs ‘18 Warriors. Who you got?

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This year's Warriors had a similar regular season (58-24), but posted a better offensive rating (113.6) and defensive rating (107.7) than their purple-and-gold counterparts from the start of the century, all while averaging about eight additional possessions per 48 minutes. Golden State shot better from the field (50.3 percent), from beyond the arc (39.7 percent) than Bryant's second title team, but Los Angeles did a better job limiting opponents in both areas. 

We'll never truly know without a time machine that could fit the Warriors' roster, but the current title-holders would have been a heck of a matchup for that Lakers squad.

Who would you pick? Sound off in the comments.