Warriors

Warriors vs. Timberwolves watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

warriorswatchguideap.jpg
AP

Warriors vs. Timberwolves watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

When the Warriors walk into Target Center on Friday, they’ll do so under circumstances they have not experienced in seven years.

Their record (2-6) is inferior to that of the Timberwolves (4-3).

Like many other teams, Minnesota will be seeking retribution against the team that has beaten it in 28 of the last 35 meetings. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 5:10.

While the Warriors -- who will benefit from the return of D’Angelo Russell -- are committed to reloading, the Timberwolves are hoping to find a measure of success. They have reached the postseason only once since 2004, when Kevin Garnett, then 27, was voted league MVP.

[RELATED: How to watch Warriors vs. T-Wolves]

The current Timberwolves, anchored by center Karl-Anthony Towns and guard Andrew Wiggins, might be buoyed by the results of their last game against the Warriors, when they posted a 131-130 overtime win last March 29.

Warriors fans remember that game for several controversial calls, along with Stephen Curry’s postgame comments, when he referred to official Marat Kogut as the “MVP” of the game.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F Glenn Robinson III
F Eric Paschall
C Willie Cauley-Stein
G Jordan Poole
G D’Angelo Russell

Timberwolves

F Josh Okogie
F Robert Covington
C Karl-Anthony Towns
G Andrew Wiggins
G Jarrett Culver

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G D’Angelo Russell (right ankle sprain) is listed as probable. G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture), G Jacob Evans III (left adductor strain), F Draymond Green (left index finger sprain), F Kevon Looney (neuropathy), F Alen Smailagic and G Klay Thompson (right ACL rehab) are listed as out.

Timberwolves: F Jordan Bell (right shoulder sprain) is listed as questionable. G Shabazz Napier (right hamstring strain) is listed as doubtful. G Jeff Teague (illness) is listed as out. F Keita Bates-Diop and C Naz Reed are on assignment in the G-League.

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: The return of Russell gives the Warriors two -- two! -- point guards, as Ky Bowman can expect 12-16 minutes off the bench. There will be instances when Bowman plays PG while Russell slides to SG ... It will be interesting to see how the Warriors defend Towns, a 7-footer who may be more comfortable launching triples than planting himself on the block. Expect the Warriors to stick to their three-man rotation, with Omari Spellman and Marquese Chriss following Cauley-Stein ... Expect Robinson to get the bulk of the minutes against the 6-8 Wiggins, who is the tallest shooting guard in the league ... Poole is 21-of-21 from the line. The last Warriors rookie to make that many in a row, at any point of a season, was Klay Thompson in 2011-12.

Timberwolves: With Teague (and possibly Napier) out, Minnesota becomes appreciably bigger in the backcourt. Wiggins (6-8) and Culver (6-7) started Wednesday at Memphis, with mixed results. They combined for 45 points but lost by 21, as the Grizzlies’ duo of Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant combined for 57 ... Towns, who leads the team in 3-point FG percentage (46.7) could be in for a monster game. The natural matchup, in terms of length, pits him against former college (Kentucky) teammate Cauley-Stein. Towns, however, has enough of an offensive repertoire to pose a huge challenge against any of the Warriors’ big men ... The most dangerous scorer off the bench is ex-Blazer Jake Layman, who can shoot the 3 and is averaging 8.9 PPG.

Officials: Tony Brothers, Tre Maddox, John Butler.

Warriors follow Draymond Green's lead in willing team to win vs. Bulls

Warriors follow Draymond Green's lead in willing team to win vs. Bulls

Throughout his career, Draymond Green simultaneously has been Golden State's emotional leader and one of its best players. 

On teams featuring Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, Green consistently was the team's emotional heartbeat, occasionally willing his squads to unforeseen victories in standout performances that didn't necessarily reflect on the stat sheet. 

The latest example of Green's impact came in the last 12 minutes of Friday's 100-98 win over the Bulls, when he passed, defended and guided the Warriors to their fifth win of the season. 

A glimpse of Green's impact came four seconds before the final frame began when Golden State coach Steve Kerr substituted Green for Jordan Poole. On the next play, Green switched onto Bulls guard Coby White, forcing an off-balance miss. Four minutes into the fourth quarter -- with Golden State down 89-84 -- he successfully contested a Tomas Satoransky jump shot, leading to a fastbreak opportunity. Four minutes later, Green received a pass from guard D'Angelo Russell, drove the lane and found center Willie Cauley Stein for a dunk. With a minute left and the game tied at 98, he found Glenn Robinson III for another lob dunk to help seal the victory. 

Green -- who finished with nine points, five rebounds and four steals -- was responsible for 10 of the team's 23 fourth-quarter points, helping the Warriors outscore Chicago by eight points in the final frame. 

"Our defensive pressure picked up," Green explained after the win. "I think down the stretch in games, you have to do that. There have been games this year where teams have put pressure on us and we didn't respond well. I think tonight we were the aggressors and it worked out in our favor."

"He made great plays down the stretch," Robinson said of Green. "He got down on the floor for loose balls. He got us going, his talk, his communication. You always want a player like that the floor, directing things."

Green's performance came at a particular time of peril for Golden State. With Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson out of the lineup, the Warriors are one of the league's worst teams. In their last four games entering Friday night, they had been outscored by 61 points, including a 106-91 blowout loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. 

[RELATED: Sources: Steph has surgery to remove pins from hand]

Worse, Green's play has followed suit. Over his previous nine appearances, he had shot just 38.5 percent from the field while dealing with a myriad of injuries. On Friday, both he and his team found their stride. 

"We played the whole game hard," Warriors forward Eric Paschall said. "I felt like as a team, that's a big step for us after the last two games. We felt like we didn't compete at a high level. I felt like it was real good for us just in terms of coming out with a win."

Golden State's season has been new territory for Green. Since entering the NBA, he has never missed the playoffs, but with the Warriors' star-studded cast out for an extended time, that streak is expected to end. That makes Friday's act of leadership all the more important going forward. 

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in inspiring 100-98 win over Bulls

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in inspiring 100-98 win over Bulls

BOX SCORE

Too bad the Warriors can't play the Bulls every night. 

In their latest outing, the Warriors beat Chicago 100-98, sweeping the season series against Chicago while avoiding a winless five-game road trip. 

After Warriors coach Steve Kerr lamented his team's uninspired play, Golden State put together its best effort in nearly a week. 

The Warriors aren't going to beat most teams on talent like recent years. In order to have a chance on a nightly basis, they'll have to play as hard as they did Friday night at United Center. 

Here are the takeaways:

All heart

In the days leading up Chicago, Kerr was critical of his team's hustle and spirit. Against the Bulls, the Warriors got the hint, highlighted by a 16-5 run to start the second quarter. Golden State shot 57 percent from the field in the frame, helping the team get within one point at halftime. 

Similar efforts were littered throughout the game. When the Bulls went up seven, the Warriors went on a 14-5 run to take a brief lead. Eric Paschall continued his stellar rookie season, scoring 13 points, adding three rebounds and two assists. 

As they grow, the Warriors will continue to learn lessons during their transition. The one constant will have to be the effort they showed Friday. 

Too many miscues

Golden State's response to Kerr's demand would've been smoother with better control of the basketball. The Warriors committed 11 of their game-high 19 turnovers in the first half. 

Entering Friday, Chicago was among the stingiest teams in the league, forcing 18 turnovers per game.

Turnovers are a function of undisciplined play. The Warriors' youth was on display, and they were fortunate to get the win.

[RELATED: Ask Kerith: Why Warriors' focus is on player development]

Robinson drilling III's

In a game the Warriors needed an extra scoring punch, they got it from Robinson, who scored 20 points, including two 3-pointers. After struggling at the beginning of the season, Robinson has come alive in recent games. 

Over his last eight outings, he's averaging 13.6 points while shooting 41.4 percent from 3-point range. 

If Robinson can keep this up, he will force his way into Golden State's future plans.