Curry, Warriors too much for Timberwolves
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) The playoffs can't get here soon enough for Golden State coach Steve Kerr.
His team having locked up its spot as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference long ago, Kerr is concerned the Warriors might have trouble sustaining their momentum down the stretch.
So far, he's been right.
Back-to-back losses to San Antonio and New Orleans, coupled with a closer-than-expected win over Minnesota, perfectly illustrate Kerr's point.
''It felt like we went through the motions a little bit,'' Kerr said following Golden State's 110-101 win over struggling Minnesota on Saturday night. ''Maybe this is just two weeks of already knowing our position, I don't know. We just weren't sharp.''
Stephen Curry scored 20 of his 34 points in the first half, Klay Thompson made three 3-pointers in the final 4 minutes and the Warriors set yet another franchise record with the win over the Timberwolves.
The Warriors broke their franchise record with their 37th home win. They have lost only twice at home and lead the NBA with a 65-15 record.
Curry wasn't as sharp as he was two nights earlier when he had 45 points in Golden State's win over Portland but he was just as effective. The All-Star point guard made five 3s, went 11 of 21 from the floor and had seven assists to help the Warriors complete a four-game sweep of the Timberwolves.
Thompson had 23 points, Draymond Green added 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Harrison Barnes had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
''They only had seven guys active so we knew they were guys playing for their contracts and NBA lives,'' said Warriors center Andrew Bogut, who had seven points and six rebounds. ''They came out and gave us good battle but we kind of need that. I think it'll help us in the playoffs.''
Andrew Wiggins had 17 points, six rebounds and nine assists for Minnesota. The Timberwolves have dropped 10 straight to fall to 16-64.
''We could easily have phoned it in,'' Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said. ''It's encouraging to see the guys work hard. With our injury situation we basically played just seven guys.''
Minnesota trailed by as much as 17 but pulled to 94-93 on Zach LaVine's jumper.
Thompson, who missed his first five shots from beyond the arc, made his first 3-pointer to put the Warriors up 97-93 with 3:51 left. Green followed with a fast-break layup and, after Chase Budinger scored for Minnesota, Thompson made his second 3 and Curry added a three-point play to make it 105-95.
''I just think they're ready for the playoffs,'' Kerr said of his players. ''They want it, and I'm very confident that when that happens, when the playoffs come, our edge will be back and we'll be sharper.''
Curry is making sure the Warriors go into the postseason on a roll.
In two games since Golden State suffered back-to-back losses to San Antonio and New Orleans, Curry has been nearly unstoppable with 79 points and 17 assists.
He scored 15 points in the first quarter the helped the Warriors pull away in the third. Curry made a 17-foot jumper from the baseline, fed Barnes for a thunderous alley-oop dunk then sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to extend the Warriors lead to 86-69.
Timberwolves: Point guard Ricky Rubio will undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle Monday in Southern California. Rubio has played in only 22 games this season. ... Kevin Garnett is hopeful of playing in one of the final two games but it seems unlikely. ''I think he doesn't feel his leg is strong enough where it needs to be at, because he doesn't want to take a chance where it can prevent him from having an opportunity to play next year,'' Saunders said.
Warriors: Injured reserve guard Leandro Barbosa (right Achilles) sat out his second straight game but is expected to be available for Monday's game against Memphis. ... F James Michael McAdoo was recalled from the Developmental League before the game.
Timberwolves: Host New Orleans on Monday night.
Warriors: Host Memphis on Monday night.