MINNEAPOLIS — Prior to Friday night’s game against the Timberwolves, Steve Kerr was asked how his Warriors matched up against them.
Kerr, ever the optimist, provided a candid answer.
“Hate to sound arrogant, but we match up well against everybody,” Kerr said.
Four hours later, the defending NBA champs failed to back up their coach's words, shooting 46.9 percent from the field, getting outscored by 14 points in the third quarter and losing 131-130 in overtime.
The game was not without controversy. Following a 3-pointer from Stephen Curry with a half-second left, Kevin Durant was called for a foul while defending Karl-Anthony Towns, who hit one of two free-throw attempts to seal Minnesota’s victory.
With the loss, the Warriors now are tied with the Denver Nuggets for the top spot in the Western Conference at 51-24, with seven regular-season games to play.
Here's are the takeaways from the game at Target Center.
Steph finds his shot
Entering Friday, Curry was shooting 40 percent over his last 13 games. Through his first two quarters, the former NBA MVP tried to erase the cold streak, hitting five first-half 3-pointers to help the Warriors take a 14-point lead into halftime. Curry finished with 37 points on 13-of-25 shooting from the field and 11-of-19 from 3-point range.
Though he's regarded as the best shooter ever by most observers, Curry isn't immune to cold streaks. Over an 11-game stretch midway through the 2016-17 season, Curry shot just 28 percent from 3-point range, while averaging just 21 points per contest.
If Curry can sustain his performance from Friday, the Warriors' road in the postseason will be a whole lot easier.
Poor third quarter
Heading into Friday's game, Kerr said he urged his team to cut down on mistakes and close quarters well.
That did not happen in the third quarter, when Golden State squandered a 19-point lead, committed eight turnovers and made just nine of its 25 shots.
During their championship run, the third quarter usually has been a time when the Warriors find their mojo. Entering Friday, Golden State was the No. 1 third-quarter scoring team in the league, averaging 30 points.
For a team that's lived on the edge much of the season, high-scoring third quarters will need to be a consistent occurrence.
Entering Friday on the most efficient stretch of his career, Durant's shooting fell off a cliff, as he went 8 of 22 from the field.
Nearly a week ago, Durant, one of the best scorers of all time, opted to become more of a facilitator hunting for quality looks. The strategy worked as Durant went 17 of 19 from the field over a two-game stretch.
No one expects Durant to shoot as well as he did earlier this week, but a bounce-back performance will be welcomed Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets.