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Warriors vs. Wolves preview: Undefeated Golden State seeks a new franchise record in Minnesota

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Golden State seeks to set a new franchise record for wins to open a season, and extend their league-best start to 10-0.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Matchup

8-0 (3-0 Home)

vs.

Minnesota Timberwolves
4-3 (0-3 Home)

Details

November 12, 2015

Target Center — Minneapolis, MN

5:00 pm PST

National TV: TNT | Local TV: CSNBA | Online: NBA.com/TNTovertime | Radio: KNBR 680 AM

Blog Buddy: Canis Hoopus

Projected Starters

Stephen Curry

G

Ricky Rubio

Klay Thompson

G

Andrew Wiggins

Harrison Barnes

F

Tayshaun Prince

Draymond Green

F

Kevin Garnett

Festus Ezeli

C

Karl-Anthony Towns

Key Injuries

Kevon Looney - Out

Ricky Rubio - Day-to-day (hamstring)

Andrew Wiggins - Day-to-day (knee)

Nikola Pekovic - Out (ankle)

★★★

The Minnesota Timberwolves are a really, really weird team.

They're an outstanding 4-0 on the road, matching the Warriors as the league's best road team. But they're also 0-3 at home in the Target center.

Lady luck is playing a pretty cruel trick on the boys up north, because tonight they host the Golden State Warriors at home. And to make matters worse? Star guards Ricky Rubio and Andrew Wiggins were both late scratches in Tuesday's loss to the Charlotte Hornets, and may not be cleared to play against the Warriors.

But don't look past the Wolves just yet. They still have Karl-Anthony Towns, the all-world rookie center from Kentucky, and noted Warriors-killer Kevin Martin. And, then again, the Flying Canadian (Wiggins) and the Italian Pete Maravich (Rubio -- and I didn't make that up) might play after all. Regardless, the Wolves will have plenty of lottery talent and athleticism to throw at our sweet-n-cuddly Dubbies.

On the second leg of a road back-to-back, the Warriors are at risk of a let down against a young, high energy, high-pace team desperate for a home win.

Mega-veteran Kevin Garnett has seen better days as a player, but he remains a high IQ defender who contributes to a surprisingly strong T-Wolves defense (eighth by efficiency, per basketball-reference.com). However, he's an abject non-factor on offense, which necessitates some interesting lineup gymnastics from head coach Sam Mitchell.

Kevin Garnett aside, the Warriors will not face a strong offense Thursday night in Minnesota. The Timberwolves do exactly one thing well on that end of the court: get to the free throw line. That could be trouble for a Warriors defense that generally does one thing poorly, historically: allow free throws (though they have been much better this season).

Depending on how much stock you put into Golden State's last road-back-to-back performance (an ugly mud wrestling match in Sacramento), the conditions could be ripe for an unexpectedly close contest. Let's hope that it's not.

Keep an eye on: Festus Ezeli and Andrew Bogut, as they match up with Karl-Anthony Towns. In addition to having a name that must be typed out, in full, each and every time it is written, Karl-Anthony Towns is also a damn good player. He's coming off of a spectacular 19 and 13 game on Tuesday, with three blocks. Ezeli is probably maybe sort of kind of auditioning for the starting center position, and to that end, he could use a bounce-back performance.

Don't keep an eye on: The Timberwolves bench, which is not very good. If Rubio or Wiggins can't go, a thin unit will be stretched past its breaking point. Woof.