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.

Steve Kerr jokes about wanting to trade spots with Andre Iguodala

Steve Kerr jokes about wanting to trade spots with Andre Iguodala

Steve Kerr has accomplished a lot during his playing and coaching career.

He played four seasons for Lute Olson at Arizona. He spent 15 years playing in the NBA, and won five NBA titles during that time.

As a coach, Kerr has made the NBA Finals in each of his first four seasons with the Warriors, and has won three championships.

If you're Steve Kerr, there aren't many people you'd want to trade places with.

Except, there is one Warriors player Kerr would like to be.

"I definitely would trade spots with Andre [Iguodala]," Kerr said on Friday on 95.7 The Game. "I can only imagine what it has felt like to be Andre iguodala over the last 20 years playing basketball. That kind of athleticism, intelligence and feel, I could only dream about being the player he is."

Iguodala, a first-round pick in 2004, has won three titles with Kerr, was named NBA Finals MVP in 2015, was selected to the 2012 NBA All-Star Game and will have earned nearly $170 million through contracts by the time his deal with the Warriors is up.

So, we can understand why Kerr might want to trade places with Iguodala.

[RELATED: Iguodala reveals reason for improved play]

Kerr was asked a really tough question by host Damon Bruce: Who had the better playing career as an Arizona Wildcat, himself or Iguodala?

"How do I answer that?" Kerr joked. "I guess I did because I was there five years and he was there two years."

Dirk Nowitzki remembers one thing most about 2007 Game 6 loss to Warriors

Dirk Nowitzki remembers one thing most about 2007 Game 6 loss to Warriors

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders on Saturday afternoon at 4 P.T., streaming live on the MyTeams app.

May 3, 2017 is a special day in Golden State Warriors history.

The No. 8 seed Warriors knocked off the No. 1 seed Mavericks in Game 6 at Oracle Arena to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

Dirk Nowitzki -- who was named MVP about two weeks later -- had one of the worst games of his career. He scored just eight points and went 2-for-13 from the field.

But it was something that took place off the court that stands out more than anything for Dirk when he thinks about that difficult day.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic has the details:

“Crazy atmosphere,” Dirk remembered. “Crazy. One of the loudest buildings I’ve been in. The fans were so in it, any run they had.”

What does Dirk remember most? The pregame tailgates.

“It doesn’t happen much in basketball,” Dirk said. “Happens more in football, when the fans cookout before. But that was the case when we drove up to the arena two-and-a-half hours, three hours before tip.

“Fans were out there flipping us off, mooning us on our way in. It was crazy. As a competitor, fun to play, but it kind of pushed them to another level. The fans were a big part of that.”

On Saturday night, Dirk will play at Oracle for the last time in his career.

The crowds might not be as consistently loud as they were during the "We Believe" run in 2007, but the man who has scored the sixth most points in NBA history has a lot of respect for the people who have filled up Oracle over the years.

[RELATEDSteph Curry will not play when Warriors host Luka Doncic, Mavericks]

“Oracle was always a fun place to play,” Nowitzki told The Athletic. “Even in the years early in my career, when the team wasn’t good, I thought the fans were always amazing there. Always great crowds. Always loud when they made runs. A great stop.

“They say the fans have changed a little bit. Because, yeah, obviously the ticket prices are a little higher than they used to be 20 years ago. But I didn’t really notice. It’s still super loud. Honestly, when Steph gets on one of his runs and starts shooting 3s from 35 feet, the place goes absolutely bonkers.”

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