Warriors

Gameday: With no Durant, keep your eyes on Klay vs Jimmy Butler

klay-jimmy-ap.jpg
AP

Gameday: With no Durant, keep your eyes on Klay vs Jimmy Butler

OAKLAND -- Two of the hottest teams in the NBA collide Wednesday night, when the Warriors, without Kevin Durant, face the remodeled Minnesota Timberwolves at Oracle Arena.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7:35.

Durant came away limping after taking a knee to his left thigh on the Warriors’ first offensive possession Monday against Miami. He played through it, but soreness kept him out of practice Tuesday and will sideline him Wednesday.

Andre Iguodala will start in place on Durant, head coach Steve Kerr announced two hours before tip-off.

The Warriors (8-3), who have won their last four games, faced the Timberwolves (7-3) twice during their preseason sojourn to China. This is the first of three meetings in the regular season.

Minnesota in the offseason brought in eight new faces, including three starters, in its quest to enter the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons -- the longest active postseason drought in the NBA.

BETTING LINE

Warriors by 8.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Klay Thompson & Co. vs. Jimmy Butler: Butler is among the new acquisitions and Wolves quickly discovered his value when they were blown out in the two games he missed. They haven’t lost since the former Bulls All-Star returned on Oct. 27. Though Thompson will get the bulk of the defensive assignment, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala will take their turns.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L thigh contusion) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Timberwolves: C Justin Patton (L foot surgery) is listed as out.

OFFICIALS

Ken Mauer (crew chief), Derrick Collins, Gediminas Petraitis.

SERIES HISTORY

The Warriors won three of four meetings last season and have won 17 of the last 20.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

TRACKING THE KAT: Wolves C Karl-Anthony Towns may be the best of the talented young big men to confront the Warriors of late. The 7-footer is averaging 20.4 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks over the past five games. He’s fabulous on the block but also capable of launching the 3. The Warriors could’ve used Durant’s length but will have to settle for whatever they get from Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee, Jordan Bell, a dash of David West and Green. This could be a low-minutes game for Pachulia. Best bet: get Towns in foul trouble.

ATTACK THE PAINT: Opponents are shooting 49.5 percent against the Wolves, making them dead last in field-goal percentage defense. They do a decent job defending the arc (35.1 percent, 11th in the league) but can be vulnerable against half-court sets and particularly in transition. Only two teams allow more points in the paint and only one allows more off fast breaks.

THE ROTATION FILES: This will be intriguing, as Warriors coach Steve Kerr continues to search for the right rotations. The Timberwolves are rife with cross-matching possibilities. Durant’s absence will hurt. Aside from presuming either Stephen Curry or Thompson will be on the floor at all times, it’ll be interesting to see how and when Kerr deploys his bench.

Steph Curry out at least 10 more days for Warriors with groin injury

Steph Curry out at least 10 more days for Warriors with groin injury

Programming note: Watch Thursday night's Warriors-Rockets game streaming live at 5 p.m. PT on the MyTeams app.

Steph Curry is Houston bound.

The two-time NBA MVP is traveling with the Warriors to Texas for the three-game road trip, but he will not play in any of the contests, the team announced Wednesday.

The Warriors will face the Rockets on Thursday, the Mavericks on Saturday and the Spurs on Sunday.

Curry will be re-evaluated in 10 days, which means he's scheduled to also miss next week's games against the Thunder (Wednesday) and the Trail Blazers (Friday). Golden State will host the Kings next Saturday, which is 10 days from now.

[RELATED: Report: Steph went to Draymond's house to get his side of the story]

The three-time NBA champion has missed the Warriors' last three games -- wins over the Nets and Hawks, and a loss to the Clippers. He is averaging 29.5 points, 6.1 assists and 5.0 rebounds this season, while shooting 51.5 percent from the field and over 49 percent from 3-point range.

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

Positives, negatives from Warriors' back-to-back vs. Clippers, Hawks

Positives, negatives from Warriors' back-to-back vs. Clippers, Hawks

OAKLAND -- The Warriors on Tuesday completed the third of 12 back-to-back sets that they will have this season, and this one might have a lasting impact.

There are few moments to remember and many to regret, most notably the blow-up between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green on Monday night.

Here are two positives and two negatives culled from splitting the two games, a loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles and a win over the Hawks in Oakland:

POSITIVES

The bench didn’t waver

With Stephen Curry missing both games and Green missing the second while on suspension, the Warriors needed a boost from their reserves. They generally got what they wanted.

The bench scored 39 points on 68.2 percent shooting against the Clippers. It was the starters' 77 points on 40.3 percent shooting that failed the test.

Against the Hawks, the bench didn’t shoot as well, perhaps because two reserves -- Quinn Cook and Jonas Jerebko -- were in the starting lineup. Cook and Jerebko combined for 32 points (46.4 percent), 17 rebounds and eight assists.

If Cook and Jerebko keep making shots and stretching the floor, the Warriors will benefit.

Iguodala’s shot looks niiice

If there is a sense the Oracle Arena crowd holds its collective breath every time Andre Iguodala hoists a 3-pointer, it’s because it does.

When he misses, and sometimes badly, there is a groan.

[RELATED: Iguodala references Kobe-Shaq when asked about Draymond-KD beef]

When they go in, there is plenty of extra hearty in the cheer.

These days, they’ve been going in. Iguodala, the team’s multi-skilled Sixth Man, scored 22 points, on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from deep, over the last two games.

Since missing his first eight shots from beyond the arc, Iguodala is 8 of 14. That’s 57.1 percent. He won’t maintain that pace -- nobody does -- but that scoring boost is particularly timely with Curry out.

NEGATIVES

The Green-Durant quarrel

The Warriors can’t hide this one. They can’t deny it. Durant and Green squabbled in plain sight Monday night, with teammates trying to soothe each of them.

With the score tied and about five seconds remaining in regulation, Green yanked down a rebound. Durant was a few feet away pleading for the ball. Green ignored him and went dribbling up the court. He committed a turnover, the Warriors did not get off a shot, and the game went into overtime, with Durant fouling out and Golden State fading over the final minutes.

That led to the dispute on the bench that carried over into the locker room. It also prompted the Warriors to suspend Green for conduct detrimental to the team.

This might be the biggest tiff yet involving Green, a firebrand that injects energy and enthusiasm but in this instance might have become too abrasive for the general good.

Will it have any lasting effect? If comments made by players and coaches are any indication, it possibly will.

Young bigs struggling on the glass

The Warriors determined this was the year they’d go away from a veteran center rotation and turn things over to the three youngsters: Jordan Bell, Damian Jones and Kevon Looney. Results have been mixed.

One element that has been fairly consistently disappointing is rebounding. Bell played just 13 minutes over the last two games and grabbed three. Looney played 45 minutes and grabbed seven. He has been the best rebounder of the group.

Jones has started every game. In 32 minutes over last two games, he had six rebounds. His season high is six. He has had eight games with three or fewer boards.

The Warriors need them to be better.