Scouting Report: Wolves vs. Warriors

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Wolves (20-32) vs Warriors (32-23) at 2:30 PM, Target Center
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM

View Timberwolves Game Notes

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Just two days after a solid win against Philadelphia, the Wolves suffered a routing down in Oklahoma City. Can a Sunday afternoon home game against Golden State get Minnesota back on track? Make sure to tune in on Fox Sports North or 830 WCCO-AM to catch the action.

Golden State Breakdown

At 24 years old, Stephen Curry has continued to improve statistically with a career-best 21.8 PPG and 6.6 APG. We all knew he could score, but when he was coming out of Davidson as a prospect, front offices wondered if he could fit as a true point guard and be a distributor. It’s starting to look that way, as his go-to man down low David Lee just earned a trip to his second NBA All-Star Game. Lee pairs well with Curry, as the forward is averaging a double-double with 19.1 PPG and 11.0 RPG.

Just when it seemed like center Andrew Bogut had recovered from his microfracture surgery, he has been sidelined yet again with back spasms. Festus Ezeli started at center in the early portion of the season, but Andris Biedrins started on Friday night and will probably start again today. Second-year player Klay Thompson is having a nice year at shooting guard, scoring 16.5 PPG. He and rookie Draymond Green are the only Warriors to have played in all 55 games this season.

Last Time Out: November 24, 2012

The Warriors defeated the Wolves 96-85 on November 24, 2012, using a 19-2 run in the fourth quarter to overcome a deficit that they had been on the wrong side of for most of the game.

Kevin Love wore a black hand sleeve in his third game back from a broken hand, and had a nice night with 15 points and 15 rebounds. But it was not enough as Minnesota went on to lose its fifth straight game, shooting a thin 32.4 percent in the second half.

The highlight for Golden State had to be a thunderous dunk from Harrison Barnes over Nikola Pekovic in the second quarter. At the time, media members were already calling it the best dunk of the season so far.

"Top, by far," Barnes said when asked how the dunk rated in his basketball career. "It probably would have been a little bit better if it would have been and-one. I just wanted to finish strong."

Pekovic had 17 points to lead the Wolves’ scoring efforts. Golden State boasted 24 from Klay Thompson, 20 from Stephen Curry and a double-double from Barnes with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Key Matchup: Harrison Barnes and Andrei Kirilenko

After missing five games with a quad injury, Kirilenko is looking solid in his two games back. Against the Sixers and the Thunder, he scored 15 points and shot over 50 percent in each contest. The most concerning thing about Friday’s loss, however, was how easily Oklahoma City was making baskets. They shot 58 percent as a team, an absolutely blazing rate on their way to 127 points total. Kirilenko is one of its most seasoned veterans, not to mention he can’t stand bad defense. Look for AK to try and inspire his team to bounce back defensively and try to hold Golden State back as best they can.

Barnes is just 20 years old, but he made his statement with an emphatic dunk against the Wolves last time the teams played. He, along with other young scorers like Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, are helping push the ball in transition for a team that’s ranked sixth in pace league-wide. After getting burned by OKC, Minnesota can’t afford to let Barnes and Golden State run wild again.

“We have to slow them down in transition, not give them any easy buckets,” Greg Stiemsma said of Golden State’s fast break attack. “If we can play the intensity we’ve had the last couple days, we should be able to hold on.”

Injury report presented by TSR Injury Law

Kirilenko looks good with two games under his belt since returning from a quad injury. Golden State's Andrew Bogut played 12 games after recovering from microfracture surgery, but he has been experiencing back spasms and sat out Friday's contest. Andris Biedrens replaced him in the lineup. Guard Brandon Rush also underwent knee surgery and will be unavailable for the rest of the season.

 

Tonight's Probable Starters
Position Timberwolves Thunder
PG Ricky Rubio Stephen Curry
SG Luke Ridnour Klay Thompson
SF Andrei Kirilenko Harrison Barnes
PF Derrick Williams David Lee
C Nikola Pekovic Andris Biedrins 

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter, and join the conversation at WolvesNation.com.