Game Preview: Warriors at Timberwolves - 11/8/19

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TIPPING OFF A BACK-TO-BACK ON THE ROAD
The Warriors tip off a road back-to-back on Friday night when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both teams enter Friday night’s game coming off losses on Wednesday, and will be the first of three times Golden State and Minnesota square-off this season. Last season, the Dubs came out victorious the first three times they played the Timberwolves, but dropped the final meeting on Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns’ making two free throws in the final half-of-a-second of overtime to defeat the Dubs.

LAST TIME OUT
The Dubs and their nine-player rotation hung with the Houston Rockets for most of the first half thanks to extra scoring from the bench, but James Harden got hot with 18 of his 36 points during a five-minute stretch late in the second quarter, and the Dubs never led again. Full Recap


MATCHUP AT A GLANCE

GSW MIN
2-6 4-3
13th in West 9th in West
PTS: 111.8 (14th) PTS: 116.7 (5th)
REB: 45.3 (16th) REB: 44.9 (20th)
AST: 25.4 (7th) AST: 24.4 (13th)

LAST GAME'S STARTERS
GSW: Ky Bowman, Jordan Poole, Glen Robinson III, Eric Paschall and Willie Cauley-Stein
MIN: Josh Okogie, Jarrett Culver, Andrew Wiggins, Robert Covington and Karl-Anthony Towns

INJURY & ROSTER NOTES
GSW: Jacob Evans (left abductor strain), Draymond Green (sprained left index finger) and D'Angelo Russell (right ankle sprain) are questionable. Stephen Curry (left hand fracture), Kevon Looney (neuropathy), Alen Smailagić (right ankle sprain) and Klay Thompson (left ACL rehab) are out. Team Notes
MIN: Jeff Teague (illness) and Shabazz Napier (hamstring) are questionable. Team Notes

BURKS MAKING HIS IMAPCT FELT
Alec Burks missed all of the preseason and the first three regular season games with an ankle injury, so it was not until October 30 against the the Phoenix Suns that Burks was able to get any in-game basketball action. He was limited to under 18 minutes in his first two games back and averaged 10.5 points between the two. Now with some games in to knock off the rust, Burks has been an impactful contributor when the Dubs have needed him; in the last two games, both of which the Warriors have had just nine bodies available to play, Burks has come off the bench and provided some much-needed scoring. He had 13 points in the team’s first win at Chase Center on Monday when they defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 127-118, and led all Dubs with 28 points in Wednesday night’s loss to the Houston Rockets. That comes to 20.5 points between the last two games and includes 6.0 rebounds, two made three-pointers, and a steal. Wednesday’s outing was also Burks’ first game with 25 points or more since December 4, 2017 with the Utah Jazz.

TEAM LEADERS

GSW MIN
PTS: Curry (20.3) PTS: Towns (26.8)
REB: Looney (9.0) REB: Towns (11.8)
AST: Curry (6.5) AST: Teague (6.3)

MINNESOTA SCOUTING REPORT
After starting the season hot with three straight wins, the Timberwolves have gone 1-3 in their previous four games. The team is led by center and 2015-16 Rookie of the Year Karl-Anthony Towns, who is currently the only player in the NBA to average over 20 points, 10 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks. Over the first few weeks of the season, Towns has posted 26.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.8 blocks in five games. Besides bringing his 6-foot-11-inch presence to the paint, he leads the Timberwolves in three-point shots made at 4.5 per game. Additional scoring threats for Minnesota include Andrew Wiggins, who contributes 22.4 points on a career-high 2.3 treys and 4.7 boards per game this season, and Robert Covington, whose 12.7 points per game compliment his staunch defense. The Timberwolves have been relying on the 3-point shot much more this season as they have in the past, attempting 41.1 treys per game, which is a 40 percent increase from last season. The Warriors haven’t defended the three very well so far, ranking 28th in the league in opponent 3-point percentage, so seeing how Minnesota shoots it on Friday is certainly something to watch for.

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