Warriors

What we learned as Warriors finish strong, beat T-Wolves

Warriors

The Warriors were in desperate need of a morale boost heading into Monday night's game in Chase Center. 

On the heels of two ugly losses, Golden State had to find some of the sparks that have popped up here and there throughout the early season.

In their 130-108 win over the Timberwolves, the Warriors did just that. 

They made lineup and rotation adjustments, got off to a hot start, and played consistently for close to 48 minutes. It was the kind of game you can build from.

Here are three takeaways from the Warriors' win:

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New starting five works for Kerr

After saying that he needed to "assess everything" when it came to the Warriors' lineups and rotation, head coach Steve Kerr made his first change to the starters, plugging Kevon Looney into the starting five and relegating James Wiseman to the bench. 

In its first outing as a group, the new-look starting lineup looked good. Maybe even better than good, as it jumped out to a 14-4 lead early on. 

Heading into Monday's game, the lineup that started against the Timberwolves -- Looney, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins -- was the Warriors' best lineup, at +28 in the 26 minutes it had played together. Based on Monday's game, they remain best unit for Golden State this season.

Four of the Warriors' five starters finished in double figures, including Curry's game-high 36 points, and all of them were well into the positive on the plus/minus rating. 

 

Now, take the Warriors' hot start with a grain of salt. They played a struggling Timberwolves team without Karl Anthony-Towns and D'Angelo Russell. However, no matter who they played, it's undeniable that Kerr's adjustment to the starting lineup was the right move. Next, we'll see if it is still the right move as they face tougher competitors.

Wiggins remains a steady hand

Andrew Wiggins has scored at least 16 points in all but three of the Warriors' games this season, providing the team with a steady presence of consistency as the Warriors continue to find themselves. 

Having a reliable contributor like Wiggins is important for a team going through lineup adjustments and doesn't have a clear-cut identity yet. 

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Against his former team, Wiggins finished with 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting, scoring from distance and in the paint. He also worked on the other end of the court, recording three blocks and three steals and battling with Malik Beasley all night long.

Continuing to have this kind of play from Wiggins will be critical for the Warriors as they look to balance out their up-and-down season. 

Run it back

In an attempt to decrease team travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA has implemented baseball-like series during the season, where the same two NBA teams will play each other in consecutive games. Monday's game against the Timberwolves was the first game of such a series. And this presents the Warriors with an opportunity to work out their kinks without the added need to prepare for an entirely different team. 

This isn't to say that this will allow the Warriors to solve all of their problems. And of course, the second game should be inherently easier because you are making adjustments against the same team you just played. 

However, Monday's game wasn't perfect. Despite having a comfortable lead for the majority of the game, there were glaring areas that need improvement such as turnovers (particularly weak passes that were deflected), finishing and avoiding the defensive lapses that allowed Minnesota to dig away at their deficit and stay in the game until the final few minutes.

Working on those problem areas against the same team is the perfect opportunity for the Warriors to build upon their foundation and find some consistency moving forward.