Scouting Report: Wolves at Warriors

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Wolves (5-6) at Warriors (7-6), 9:30 PM, Oracle Arena
Where to Watch: Fox Sports North
Where to Listen: 830 WCCO-AM


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The Wolves play Golden State for the second time this season when they face off at Oracle Arena tonight. Tipoff is set for 9:30 p.m. on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO-AM.

After winning four games in a five-game span, the Warriors lost at Denver on Friday night, 102-91. Starters Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and Stephen Curry combined for only 10 points, and the Nuggets outscored Golden State in the paint 58-34. David Lee led Golden State with 21 points and 10 rebounds, and reserve forward Carl Landry came in off the bench to rack up 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Curry was unusually quiet, as the fourth-year sharpshooter logged only six points, a far cry from his 19.3 PPG average so far this season.

Minnesota has found itself in the middle of a four-game losing streak, the latest loss coming at the hands of Portland on Friday night. The Blazers defeated the Wolves 103-95, enjoying strong scoring nights from guards Wesley Matthews (30 points) and Damian Lillard (28). Minnesota led for most of the game until Nicolas Batum hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third, and the Wolves never regained traction as they went on to score only 17 points in the fourth quarter.

Last Time Out: Nov. 16, 2012

Although Minnesota launched a valiant fourth-quarter effort, the comeback fell short as Golden State came away with a 106-98 victory at Target Center.

The Warriors controlled the paint all night, outscoring the injury-riddled Wolves 58-22 down low. David Lee collected 18 points and 13 rebounds, and teammate Carl Landry added 15 points off the bench as the pair of forwards attacked Minnesota’s post defense all night.

The Wolves jumped out to a 27-22 first quarter lead, led by 13 points from Derrick Williams; he finished with 23 on the night to lead all players. Golden State regained control of the game in the second quarter to lead at halftime, 53-50. From there, the Warriors never looked back.

After Williams, rookie Alexey Shved had the next highest point total for Minnesota with 22; he also led the team in assists with seven.

“We just didn’t do enough,” coach Rick Adelman said. “They hurt us on dribble penetration. They hurt us on the boards. They just attacked us around the basket—way too many points in the paint.”

Key Matchup: Stephen Curry and Malcolm Lee

Only two games removed from a 31-point outburst against Dallas, Curry managed just six points against Denver in their latest contest. Curry wasn’t the only Golden State starter to underachieve—Festus Ezeli didn’t record a single point—but it’s no secret that he’s their top scoring option. Curry leads the Warriors in points per game (18.9) and free throw percentage (.891), and he simply can’t have nights like he did against Denver if Golden State wants to compete. He took just five shots last night, well short of his 15.3 FGA average; expect him to put up plenty of attempts against Minnesota to try and get his groove back.

When Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger both went down with knee injuries, Adelman inserted second-year man Malcolm Lee into the starting lineup. His depth is thin at that spot, as the only other options are rookie Alexey Shved, undersized J.J. Barea and newly signed Josh Howard. Lee lacks shooting touch and experience—shooting just 28 percent from the field—but Adelman lauds his defense and athletic ability. He had a decent game against Portland, collecting seven points on 3-of-4 shooting, including a corner 3-pointer and a flashy slam dunk. There’s no denying his physical gifts, but Lee must bring his best defensive game against a motivated Curry—and probably make a couple of buckets along the way.

 

Tonight's Probable Starters
Position Timberwolves Warriors
PG Luke Ridnour Stephen Curry
SG Malcolm Lee Klay Thompson
SF Andrei Kirilenko Harrison Barnes
PF Kevin Love David Lee
C Nikola Pekovic Festus Ezeli

 

 


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