The Warriors have said that each of the 10 games remaining on the schedule is to be approached like a playoff game, with sustained intensity, attention to detail and each possession treated with value.
“Game 1” had those elements in spurts, but that was not enough Thursday night in a 126-114 defeat to the Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
The Warriors (31-32) remain in 10th place in the Western Conference but drop a full game behind eighth-place Memphis and ninth-place San Antonio.
Stephen Curry scored a game-high 37 points, with Andrew Wiggins adding 27.
Here are three observations from Golden State’s second consecutive loss:
The Steph Show
In the last game of the best month of his 12-year career, Curry faced nearly half the Minnesota roster. The Timberwolves used multiple defenders to bump and grab as much as they could get away with.
And it was somewhat successful, particularly early. Curry in the first half scored 13 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field.
Curry in the second half was a different dude, scoring 24 points, 16 in the third quarter and eight more in the fourth. For the game, he shot 11-of-27 overall and 6-of-17 beyond the arc.
Curry totaled 13 games in April with at least 30 points. It’s a given that he will be named Western Conference Player of the Month.
That, however, is small consolation with the Warriors closing April with back-to-back losses.
Defense not up to task
It was 90 minutes before tipoff when coach Steve Kerr stated the No. 1 priority in this game: “The mindset would be that we’re going to play our best defensive game of the year.”
Mission not accomplished.
The Warriors started well enough, forcing the Timberwolves to miss seven of their first eight shots in the first three minutes. That was as good as it got.
Minnesota shot 45.7 percent from the field and, moreover, 48.8 percent from distance. Ricky Rubio – yes, Ricky Rubio – poured in 26 points while shooting 7-of-7 from deep.
Golden State’s best defensive game of the year came on Feb. 9 in limiting the Spurs to 37.2-percent shooting in a 114-91 win at San Antonio. That clinched the season series. With both teams jostling for the play-in tournament, this could prove significant.
The rebounding problem
The Warriors are 28th in rebounding percentage, a soft spot all season, but they’ve won that battle in four of the last seven games. If they were close in that area, they win in a walk.
They were not close. Minnesota outrebounded Golden State 57-34. Of those 57 rebounds, 16 were on the offensive glass.
Rebounding is about size and effort. The Timberwolves had the size advantage and they also expended more effort.
Guard Kent Bazemore led the Warriors with 10 rebounds. Next was Curry, another guard, with six.
The starting frontcourt – Kevon Looney, Draymond Green and Wiggins – combined for 11 rebounds in 99 minutes.