Game 45 Preview: Golden State Warriors vs Minnesota Timberwolves

Golden State Warriors (18-24) vs Minnesota Timberwolves (22-24)

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Last game: Minnesota: L, 115-99 vs Sacramento, Golden State: L, 99-92 vs Utah in OT

The Timberwolves and Kevin Love look to rebound (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!) against the Warriors tonight.

The Timberwolves and Kevin Love look to rebound (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!) against the Warriors tonight.

Despair. The road-weary Timberwolves dropped to two games below .500 with a loss to the Sacramento Kings yesterday. Kevin Love recorded another double double, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, but the Wolves turned the ball over 21 times, leading to roughly 360 kajillion fast break points for the Kings (real number: 27). The Wolves remained two games behind the Rockets for 8th place in the division, and a game and a half behind Phoenix and Utah.

The Warriors fell to the Jazz in overtime on Saturday. Nate Robinson led the Warriors with 19 points, and he was one of four starters with 13 points or more, but Golden State gave up 56 points in the paint, including 23 to Derrick Favors. The Warriors also recovered just three offensive rebounds, while the Jazz grabbed 20.

The Key Questions

#1. What happened between JJ Barea and Kevin Love?

Steve McPherson did a great video breakdown of the sequences leading up to the brief…whatever that was on the bench. Teammates get upset with each other, especially during tough times on the court. Hopefully this incident will blow over quickly. The last thing Minnesota needs is more drama.

#2. Can the Wolves take care of the ball?

The Warriors like to run. Their gameplan isn’t exactly a secret. The Wolves were sloppy and lackadaisical with their passes against the Kings. If Minnesota continues to turn the ball over against Golden State, tonight will feel like several eternities.

#3. Can the Wolves still get back in the playoff race?

Yes…technically. Minnesota is only two games out since Houston kindly lost last night (to the Suns, unfortunately). But after tonight, the Wolves face San Antonio and Oklahoma City on Wednesday and Friday, before finally going home to face Denver on Sunday, then playing the Grizzlies in Memphis on Tuesday. This losing streak may look daunting, but it could look a whole lot more daunting a week from now.

The Matchups

So after all that doom and gloom, let’s discuss some happier things. For example, the hardest matchup Minnesota faces tonight (probably) is David Lee vs. Kevin Love. Lee is a decent power forward, but not much of a defender. Love should enjoy himself.

Nikola Pekovic should be in uniform tonight, which will boost Minnesota’s front line quite a bit. Anthony Randolph did some good things last night (which was a surprise in itself), but he also did some really awful things (not a surprise at all), so Pekovic’s return will be most welcome.

According to Jerry Zgoda, Beasley’s toe was really bothering him last night, which doesn’t bode well for his playing time tonight.

In news from Golden State’s bench, Richard Jefferson shot a paltry 2-14 from the field against the Jazz. Keep the good times rolling, RJ!

The Outlook

Derrick Williams tweeted that the Wolves “need to turn it around tonight.” Actually Derrick, that was last night I’m afraid. A win tonight is essential, but Minnesota will need some pretty major upsets to remain in the Western Conference playoff race over the next week.

Game starts at 9:30 on Fox Sports North