Warriors-Timberwolves Preview

March 20, 2016

Stephen Curry was not his typical self as the Golden State Warriors' spot atop the Western Conference suddenly became less than a foregone conclusion.

There is little doubt as to who owns the next series.

The Warriors will try to avoid their first losing streak of the season Monday night as they go for their ninth straight road win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, whom Curry torched in November.

An uncharacteristic shooting performance by the reigning MVP and Golden State (62-7) led to a huge scoring disparity from the first and second games of the weekend's back-to-back set.


Klay Thompson made 10 of 15 3-pointers for 39 points and Curry had 31 in Friday's 130-112 win at Dallas, where the Warriors shot 50 percent for the fourth straight game and made 22 of 38 3s to open a three-game road trip. One night later, they made 37.8 percent for their second-worst shooting game of the season in an 87-79 loss at San Antonio.

Curry had his worst regular-season shooting performance in 170 games - dating to Feb. 26, 2014 - making 4 of 18 and 1 of 12 from deep for 14 points as the Warriors' win streak ended at seven games. Thompson finished 7 of 20 for 15.

The result was Golden State's lowest point total since a 91-75 loss to Charlotte on Feb. 4, 2014. In the bigger picture, it tightened the Warriors' West lead to just three games over the Spurs, whom they see twice in the season's final week.

The Warriors played without Andrew Bogut after he strained his left big toe on Friday, and Andre Iguodala (sprained left ankle) missed his fifth straight game. Results of Bogut's MRI are not yet available.

"This is the NBA, injuries happen," coach Steve Kerr said. "They got us in the paint and we didn't make enough 3s. But that's the way it goes, we'll make 'em next time."

Golden State can still set the NBA's single-season record with 73 victories if it finishes 11-2 - which would clinch the top seed.

Curry didn't miss often in a 129-116 win at Minnesota on Nov. 12, the Warriors' sixth straight victory and 13th in the last 14 games of this series.

Curry made 15 of 25 shots and 8 of 13 from deep for 46 points, and Draymond Green finished with 23 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. Curry has totaled 80 in the last two games against the Timberwolves on 56.5 percent shooting while making 13 of 24 3s.

After Monday, the Warriors play nine of their final 12 games at home, where they are 32-0. They have lost two of three on the road.

While Golden State hasn't lost consecutive games since the NBA Finals, Minnesota (22-47) is riding a six-week stretch without back-to-back victories.

The Timberwolves traded wins and losses on a four-game trip, which they closed with Friday's 116-111 loss at Houston. They followed Wednesday's 56.3 percent shooting performance in a 114-108 win at Memphis with a 50.6 showing, but the Rockets finished at 56.5 - a season high for a Minnesota opponent.

Zach LaVine made 3 of 5 3s to continue his hot shooting from deep, though he finished 6 of 15 overall for 15 points. He has made 12 of 22 3s while averaging 23.7 points in the last three games.

However, coach Sam Mitchell said he wasn't about to start letting LaVine shoot at will with a statement that possibly overlooks his next opponent.

''I don't think anybody in the history of the league has had the green light,'' Mitchell said. ''If that were the case, we'd let them put shots up at half court.''