Warriors

What we learned as Wiggins breaks out in win over T-Wolves

Warriors
Andrew Wiggins

SAN FRANCISCO -- Seven home games down, one to go. 

After defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-108 at Chase Center on Wednesday night, the Warriors have won all but one of their games so far during this homestand, bringing them to a league-best 10-1 record. 

In the first three quarters against the T-Wolves, the Warriors once again showed just how hot they can get on offense, while also playing strong defense. Then in the latter half of the third and into the fourth, the Warriors started losing steam. 

They weren't hitting the shots they were getting earlier, and they got sloppier with the ball.

Andrew Wiggins was the player of the night for the Warriors, finishing with a season-high 35 points and exhibiting a side of him that had yet to appear this season. He started the night hot and closed the game out as began: hitting big shots for Golden State.

Here are three takeaways: 

Andrew Wiggins revenge game 

He might not admit it was because of the opponent, but Andrew Wiggins played with an extra pep in his step against his former team on Wednesday. 

Wiggins came out of the gates swinging -- scoring the Warriors' first five points -- and never looked back, getting his 35 points on 14-of-19 shooting. He shot a perfect 9-for-9 from the field in the first half. 

Up until Wednesday night, Wiggins looked a bit passive when he was on the court. His reputation of being lazy or not putting in enough effort was rearing its ugly head. But against the Timberwolves, he played with conviction, precision and aggression.

 

Wiggins was hunting for and creating his own shot. When he shot from distance, his feet were steadily underneath him. When he cut to the rim -- which he finally did more of on Wednesday -- he drove with all of his body, absorbing any contact he ran into. 

Down the stretch of the game, Wiggins hit four clutch shots for Golden State, including two 3-pointers, followed up by a put-back dunk. 

His other big highlight of the night came with about 90 seconds left in the second quarter when he soared high above Karl-Anthony Towns and threw down an emphatic dunk. 

Welcome to Dunk-a-palooza 

So yes, that Wiggins dunk on Towns was the dunk of the night. But, there were quite a few other candidates. Wiggins got another dunk besides his KAT poster, while Gary Payton II got a few, and so did Otto Porter Jr. 

In Monday's win over the Atlanta Hawks, Andre Iguodala notched three dunks. Draymond Green has been getting some here and there, including one where he took off from the free-throw line. Even Steph Curry has joined the dunk party this season. 

All of that is to say: As many shooting threats as the Warriors have, they have just as many above the rim. 

Looking at the makeup of the Warriors, this wouldn't be your first assumption. 

Iguodala wasn't supposed to still have the hops he has. Curry and Jordan Poole are thought of more as shooters. Payton, well, he just doesn't look like he can get up there. But, the Warriors actually put him in some plays as the "center" and rim threat. 

Having the ability to attack the rim -- and finish above it -- as the Warriors do adds a whole other dimension to their scoring ability, as well as their entertainment factor.  

Monitoring Draymond Green

After getting kneed in the thigh by Jaden McDaniels in the third quarter, Draymond Green limped to the locker room with team doctor Rick Celebrini. It was later announced by the team that Green would not return due to a right thigh contusion. 

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Before he left, Green was having a quiet offensive night, scoring all seven of his points off free throws. But, the fact that he got to the line that much was evidence that he was banging down low and drawing contact. On defense, Green's presence changes everything. Not having him on the floor leaves a hole in the Warriors' system. 

Down the stretch of the game, the Warriors' defense loosened up, allowing the Timberwolves to make it a tight game in the fourth. All of the momentum was tipping toward Minnesota. 

After the win, Warriors coach Steve Kerr described Green's contusion as "nasty" and that he should be considered questionable for Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls.

 

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