Golden State Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves preview: Love is coming back to the Oracle

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Golden State Warriors vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Where: Oracle Arena

TV: CSN Bay Area Radio: KNBR 680

Blog Buddy: Canis Hoopus

Golden State Warriors Tickets

After a tough loss last night against the Denver Nuggets on the road (tough because we got spanked, not because it was nail-biter), the Warriors will try to get back to their (nascent) winning ways tonight at Oracle against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Warriors played the T-Wolves recently (just last week actually) and won in Minnesota with a balanced offensive attack from Harrison Barnes, David Lee, and Stephen Curry, each having scored 18 points. But that game was notable for the absence of Minnesota's (arguably) three best players in Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio, and Nikola Pekovic.

The big deal tonight is that Kevin Love has come back early from the injury to his hand, although he says he's not yet close to 100%. Unfortunately, even a not-close-to-100%-healthy Kevin Love is proving to be quite a load against opposing teams. In his first game back he racked up 34/14 (with 14 FTA!) against Denver (in a loss) and 24/13 (with 16 FTA!) in his second game against Portland (also a loss). I'm hoping the losing trend continues, of course.

Thanks to bigkino for pointing out that Pekovic has also been back for the last two games. That makes this game even tougher obviously. Ezeli and Biedrins are obviously going to have to come up big.

On a personal note, I'll be at the game tonight with my bro. What's interesting about that for me is that the only game I went to last season was the night that the circus came to town. That was also the T-Wolves. An eventful night, but not what I would call a "fun" night. I hope this one turns out better for the fans, the team, and for Joe Lacob.

Things to look for:

  • The foul situation. Looking at those FTA numbers for Love the last couple of games, I have a bad feeling about this. The Warriors defense appears to have improved greatly from last season (and hell, pretty much any season you want to name in the past few decades). But there are some games where we just get into way too much foul trouble, like last night, for instance. If our main scoring threats can stay out of foul trouble, that will be a key to having a chance to win this game.
  • Rebounding. Kevin Love is obviously the league's pre-eminent rebounder. But the Warriors are notably improved in that department. In fact, somewhat surprisingly, they out-rebounded the Nuggets last night. Festus Ezeli had a career high 10 rebounds and he will be a key to cleaning the glass with Pekovic still out. Biedrins will probably also be counted on for 10 minutes or so of glass work and defense.
  • Look for Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes to bounce back from bad games last night. Actually, Barnes has had a couple of stinkers in a row. We need these two to score efficiently, play tough defense, and stay out of foul trouble.
  • It's the start of a 4-game homestand. Oracle is gonna be rockin'. Tonight's game is the kind of game that the Warriors simply have to win if they're going to compete for a playoff spot. Remember this T-Wolves squad still doesn't have Rubio or Pekovic (as bigkino pointed out in the comments, Pekovic came back 2 games ago). If we can't beat them now at home, that's a troubling sign.
  • Derrick Williams has basically become a persona non grata in Minnesota. The other night he received a DNP, because Adelman thinks that Lou Amundson and Dante Cunningham give a more "veteran presence". It will be interesting to see if Williams gets any p.t. at all tonight.

Prediction #1 - Warriors by 5

Prediction #2 - I will once again get pissed off at the $12 beer at Oracle

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