Wolves Come Up Short Against Warriors, 106-98
Web Editorial Associate
Peaks and valleys defined the Timberwolves’ matchup with Golden State on Friday, a theme they’ve battled through over the last few games particularly with second and third quarter lapses followed by a massive fourth-quarter comeback.
And this time around, the valley during the second and third quarters dipped too low for Minnesota to bounce back as the Warriors stole a 106-98 win at Target Center.
Golden State controlled the paint, outscoring Minnesota 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 the Timberwolves’ post defense all night.
Wolves vs Warriors
“Those little layups on us, we didn’t prevent it in the second and third quarter,” Andrei Kirilenko said. “That’s why we got down so much.”
Derrick Williams partially attributed the lack of resistance down low to the absence of Nikola Pekovic, Minnesota’s starting center who sat out tonight’s game with an ankle sprain.
“Pek is arguably the strongest guy in the league—our paint stopper—we really missed him out there tonight,” Williams said. “At one point I think it was myself and DC [Dante Cunningham] out there playing the four and the five. Both of us 6-foot-8, trying to play the post, it does get tough.”
The Wolves jumped out to a 27-22 first quarter lead, led by 13 points from Williams; he finished with 23 on the night [9-of-15 FG] to lead all players.
“I think it’s just a confidence thing,” Williams said of his shooting. “Tonight I decided I was going to shoot it. Whether I make it or miss it, I’m not going to second-guess myself. I’m just trying to play hard.”
Golden State regained control of the game in the second quarter, riding an eight-point effort from Lee to lead at halftime, 53-50. From there, the Warriors never looked back.
“I just try to do what I've been doing,” Lee said, “and that's to try and attack the glass, and that really gets me into the flow of the game. I got a couple put-backs in the second quarter and got myself going.”
The third quarter fared no better for the Wolves, as the Warriors built their lead up to as much as 15 points. Minnesota outscored Golden State 29-24 in the final quarter, but the Wolves’ defense proved porous in the final minutes en route to their fourth loss of the season.
“We just didn't do enough,” said coach Rick Adelman. “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.”
Lee and Harrison Barnes tied for Golden State’s top scoring honors with 18 points each. Guard Stephen Curry had another 17, and Jarrett Jack came off the bench to add 13 of his own. The Warriors shot 50.6 percent for the game, the highest rate Minnesota’s defense has allowed all year.
After Williams, rookie Alexey Shved had the next highest point total for Minnesota with 22; he also led the team in assists with seven. Andrei Kirilenko recorded 18 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots for another well-rounded effort.
Leader of the Pack: Alexey Shved
The Russian rookie had his highest point total yet this year, racking up 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting. He also dished out seven assists, tying his previous career high. Tonight was his third straight night scoring double-digit points; Shved came into tonight’s game ranked seven among rookies in scoring [9.0 PPG] and second in assists [3.9 APG].
Highlight of the Night
Just when things looked bleak in the fourth quarter, the Wolves slowly started trimming points off their deficit. Around the six-minute mark, Shved streaked towards the basket with the ball, reaching backwards and tossing it towards his teammate Kirilenko. Kirilenko launched a high-arcing 3-pointer, sinking it and igniting the Target Center crowd. The lead was cut down to only seven, and Golden State was forced to call a timeout.
The Numbers Game
Quote of the Night
“We are playing with guys who are going to be supporting guys around our team, and they are playing big minutes. I think there were times in that game where I think mentally we didn't react the way we needed to. Way too many points in the paint, and they really killed us on the boards." —coach Rick Adelman
The Wolves will enjoy a much-deserved break for the next four days, resuming play on Wednesday, November 21 against the Denver Nuggets. They go on a four-game road trip out west after that, facing Portland, Golden State, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers.