Game Preview: Warriors vs. Timberwolves - 12/10/18

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BEEN A WHILE
Two weeks from their previous home game, the Dubs return to Oracle Arena to host the Timberwolves on Monday. This will be the second of this season’s four head-to-head matchups between the two teams, as the Dubs won Round 1 in Oakland, 116-99, on Nov. 2. Both teams have undergone its share of diversity since then, as multiple Warriors players have missed significant time this season and Minnesota shipped an All-Star player to Philadelphia last month. The Warriors are coming off a five-game road trip but will have two full days to recover from any jet lag, while Minnesota will be playing the second of four straight games on the West Coast.

LAST TIME OUT
Andre Iguodala came through with a season-high 15 points and both Jonas Jerebko and Alfonzo McKinnie made key shots as the Dubs closed out their five-game road trip with a win in Milwaukee. Full Recap

MATCHUP AT A GLANCE

GSW MIN
18-9 13-13
1st in West 10th in West
PTS: 116.4 (3rd) PTS: 109.8 (17th)
REB: 45.4 (16th) REB: 44.0 (19th)
AST: 28.0 (1st) AST: 23.6 (17th)

LAST GAME'S STARTERS
GSW: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala and Damian Jones
MIN: Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson and Karl-Anthony Towns.

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
GSW: Draymond Green (right toe sprain) is questionable. DeMarcus Cousins (left Achilles rehab) and Damian Jones (left pectoral muscle tear) are out. Team Notes
MIN: Robert Covington (sore right knee) is TBD. Jerryd Bayless (sprained left knee) is out. Team Notes

NEARING FULL STRENGTH
After losing the first two games of the road trip, the Dubs won the last three and looked good doing it. Of course, Stephen Curry returning from an 11-game absence had something to do with it, but Alfonzo McKinnie’s return can’t be understated either. McKinnie’s effort on the glass has an impact on the game, and his ability to make open 3-pointers is certainly a difference maker. More shots in the arm are near, as Draymond Green is expected to return this week, and DeMarcus Cousins will likely increase intensity of his recovery efforts in the coming days. Even with the team missing a few of their best defenders, the Dubs were able to hold the Bucks, the highest scoring team in the NBA, to a season-low 95 points on Friday. It was the first time that Milwaukee was held under 100 points this season, and it was also a Warriors opponent season low. Coach Kerr called it the Dubs’ best defensive effort of the season, and more performances like that will make the Dubs a tough beat on any given night.

TEAM LEADERS

GSW MIN
PTS: Curry (29.6) PTS: Towns (21.2)
REB: Durant (7.8) REB: Towns (11.9)
AST: Green (7.2) AST: Teague (7.9)

MINNESOTA SCOUTING REPORT
The Minnesota team that the Warriors saw last month at Oracle Arena is a vastly different one than it is today. One of the more dramatic chapters of the NBA season thus far closed with Minnesota’s trade of Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia last month, and the Timberwolves have rallied to a 9-4 record since, including wins of six of their last seven before Saturday's loss at Portland. Heading into that game at Portland, the Timberwolves have had an above .500 record for the first time all season. Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns is one of the game’s best bigs, and he has been playing at an especially high level of late. Towns is one of seven current Timberwolves averaging double figures in scoring, and among them is Derrick Rose, who is enjoying his finest NBA season in years with averages of 18.3 points and 4.5 assists in 29.5 minutes per game. One of the pieces the Wolves landed in the Butler trade, forward Robert Covington is a defensive ace who has had a large hand in Minnesota leading the league in steals. Covington, however, did miss Saturday's game on Saturday with a sore right knee and will be evaluated prior to Monday's game. The first game back from a long road trip is traditionally a tough one, and the way Minnesota has been playing lately won't make it any easier for the Dubs.

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