Wolves Look To Bounce Back After Warriors Loss
Wolves Look To Bounce Back After Warriors Loss
Wolves coach Rick Adelman was pretty candid—as he usually is—after Wednesday night’s 106-93 loss to the Golden State Warriors at home. His team, now 3-2 on the season after opening up the year 3-0 for just the second time in franchise history, hasn’t been able to sustain momentum and productivity for a full four quarters over the past two contests.
It’s something the Wolves need to address if they’re going to reach the expectations they’ve set for themselves this year.
“It’s early and I just told them, sometimes you have success early in the season and you think you have arrived,” Adelman said. “It almost gives you false security, because you’ve won some games. Now we are playing some good teams, and we are finding out about ourselves. Tonight, we weren’t ready for this team. They were a lot better than we were, and I think every one of our guys has to play better for us to have a chance.”
[CLICK HERE to check out Wolves and Warriors: By the Numbers.]
Wednesday’s loss was difficult because you saw the Wolves staying close despite struggling from the field and getting little production from their bench, but you could see the Warriors’ high-octane offense getting ready to take off. Golden state is second in the league in 3-point percentage, yet they were shooting 23.1 percent (3-of-13) through three quarters. And the duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson—their standout back court—had a combined 16 points heading into that final frame while shooting 6-of-19.
Something had to give. On this night, it was Golden State’s frigid 3-point shooting.
The Warriors didn’t connect from distance until the third quarter, but they heated up in the fourth thanks to Thompson. He scored 19 points in the fourth alone, connecting on 5-of-6 3-pointers in the frame and essentially willing the Warriors to what would become a 13-point victory.
The loss sends Minnesota into Friday’s home matchup with Dallas with a 3-2 record, and the Wolves are ready to put this particular game behind them and move on to another contest.
“No rhythm at all,” J.J. Barea said. “We just need to get better tomorrow and come back out on Friday.”
The biggest things the Wolves took away from Wednesday’s loss are a heightened need for bench productivity and the necessity to make the opponent pay when it makes mistakes.
The Wolves’ bench combined for 10 points against Golden State on 4-of-17 shooting. Barea had five of those points and Dante Cunningham (2), Shabazz Muhammad (2) and Gorgui Dieng (1) all got on the board, but the lack of production on this particular night caused Adelman to stick with all five of his starters for at least 32:59. Now, the Wolves’ bench had its hand in helping Minnesota nearly come back from 23 down in Cleveland on Monday—so the productivity potential is there—but as a whole Minnesota needs to be able to count on its reserves night in and night out.
It wasn’t enough to complement the 25 points and 16 boards from Kevin Love, the 23 points from Kevin Martin and the 18 points from Corey Brewer.
And when the Wolves create turnovers, they need to be able to get on the board. Minnesota forced 21 turnovers on Wednesday and produced just 10 points. The Warriors, by comparison, forced 19 turnovers that led to 26 points.
“It was a combination of offense and defense,” Kevin Martin said. “A lack of energy—we just weren’t clicking tonight. It’s something we need to look at and see what exactly went wrong.”
There’s no question the Warriors and Wolves share admiration for one another’s games—that was evident in the teams’ pregame and shootaround conversations yesterday. They have similarities, particularly their transition play, and they will each likely be in the mix for playoff positioning this spring. Golden State has the opportunity to be a top four team in the West, while Minnesota is trying to make that next step and get into the postseason.
Even on Wednesday when the energy wasn’t consistently there for the Wolves, Warriors forward David Lee gave Minnesota props for the way they play.
“They were really gritty tonight,” he said. “The Wolves, their strength inside between [Nikola] Pekovic and [Kevin] Love, and some of their other guys, they’re very strong inside so they did a good job of being tough on the glass and finishing tough on the other end.”
They key is maintaining intensity for 48 minutes. It’s where the Wolves will begin as they get set for Dallas on Friday.
“It’s one of those games you want to get back,” Corey Brewer said. “We are only 3-2, and we will come back Friday and get the win—4-2 looks a lot better than 3-3.”
Here are a few notes to take away from last night’s performance: