Golden State pulls away in fourth quarter to top Wolves 116-99
OAKLAND, Calif. Two nights after he set the basketball world ablaze with an implausible career high 50 points against the Jazz, Derrick Rose made merely a cameo for the Timberwolves in their 116-99 loss to the Warriors on Friday at Oracle Arena.
First, he didnt get the start for the injured Jeff Teague. Tyus Jones, returning from a one-game absence, did instead. Then Rose played just five minutes in the half and attempted one shot before he exited the game because of left ankle soreness.
This span of 48 hours encapsulated Roses career amazing physical skill that is unmatched by few in the NBA when healthy, but that health is a constant question mark, especially given how violent Roses style of play can be.
While Rose exited the lineup, Jimmy Butler returned to it as the Wolves began a five-game West Coast road trip against the defending champions. Everything actually went well for the Wolves for three quarters before the Warriors juggernaut finally caught up to them then sprinted past them in the fourth quarter.
The Wolves led 87-83 after three quarters but then the Warriors found an extra gear that the Wolves, and possibly nobody else in the NBA, has. They hit nine of their first 15 shots of the quarter and flipped that deficit into a 15-point lead. Klay Thompson hit three 3-pointers in the opening two minutes, obliterating the Wolves lead and sending Golden State onto the win. Thompson finished with 22, Durant had 33 and Stephen Curry had 28 while Andrew Wiggins had 22 to lead the Wolves. Butler finished with 21
The Warriors fourth quarter mirrored their opening to the game, the other time when it seemed they were on a different basketball plane.
The leagues most efficient offense entered the night averaging five more points per 100 possessions than Portland, the second-best offense in the league, and efficiency was the Warriors mantra in the opening minutes with their starters in the game. They opened the game hitting 12 of their first 15 shots and led by as many as 12 a little over six minutes into the game. But the rest of the quarter, the Wolves found their footing thanks in part to their bench.
Like it has throughout the early part of the season, the Wolves bench was a stabilizing force. Josh Okogie had 12 points on just four field-goal attempts while going 5-for-5 at the free-throw line. But Okogie hit just one shot the rest of the night.
The Wolves locked in on the defensive end of the floor and forced the Warriors to shoot 10 of 32 the rest of the half. They even grabbed a small lead before the Warriors went into the locker room with a 61-58 lead.
To keep pace with the Warriors, the Wolves had the mindset that they were going to chuck it from deep. They attempted 23 3-pointers in the first half and 45 for the game. By comparison, they averaged just 22.5 attempts per game last season. The 45 3s were also 11 more than the bombs away Warriors attempted.
After the half, Andrew Wiggins played his best quarter of basketball since returning from a quad contusion that caused him to miss three games. He connected on 3 of 5 3-pointers in the quarter as the Wolves outscored the Warriors 29-22 in the third quarter to take their four-point lead headed into the fourth.
If only the night had ended there.