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Warriors vs. Timberwolves: Golden State end the road trip still undefeated

Leading the entire game, the Warriors beat the Timberwolves on the road, 129-116, despite some sloppy play and a shaky fourth-quarter. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green ended with impressive statistics: Curry scored 46 points, and Green had a near-triple-double 23 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds. The Warriors are now 10-0 for the first time in franchise history!

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The first topic Golden State of Mind talks about after games this season is inevitably Stephen Curry.  Currently averaging 33.3 points per game, it's fair to say he's been the best player in the NBA so far. It seems every game brings us 2 or 3 unbelievable Vines. He came into tonight's game hot, finishing the first quarter with 21 points, and scored 46 points overall in the game.

But despite his amazing play, the Warriors have been guilty of some sloppy play recently.  Their most recent games against the Kings, Pistons, and Grizzlies weren't especially flashy or clean.  The problems usually lie in the offense: how do the Warriors get points on the board when Steph Curry is on the bench? Can Klay Thompson regain his offensive groove? Does the bench have enough shooters?  But today, the Warriors' usually elite defense was the side that suffered: the Dubs allowed the T'Wolves to shoot 49% from the field and pile on 61 bench points.

But even when the Warriors play inefficiently and sloppily, they still can win by low double-digits, as they demonstrated tonight.  The mark of great teams is often defeating lesser ones despite underperforming.

The Offense

What's up with Stephen Curry's assist numbers this year? He's averaging less than six per game, more than one less than his career average.  Obviously, he's scoring much more this year, but that's not the entire story: the Warriors' offense has evolved to put the ball in Draymond Green's hands to begin the ball movement. Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN explains that when defenses double-team Steph, he transfers the ball to Draymond Green to handle the resulting, temporary 4-on-3 mismatch.  Draymond, the Warrior's starting power forward, is currently the leading the team in assists, averaging 6.6 per game.

For most of the game tonight, the offense was rolling:

The Defense

The Warriors defense struggled today, especially during bench-heavy periods.  Big credit, though, should go to the Timberwolves: their young core is already making a positive impact (cough, Philadelphia, cough).  Both Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins are already playing like veterans, scoring 17 and 19 points respectively.  The veteran presences of Kevin Garnett, Tayshaun Prince, and Andre Miller cannot be understated.  They also have some intriguing supporting talent, with young talent in Shabazz Muhammad, Nemanja Bjelica, Gorgui Dieng, and Zach LaVine.  The Warriors have had the best defense in the NBA so far, with the league's top defensive rating, so to shoot so well against them is worthy of kudos.

The Takes

Closing Remarks

  • Don't look now, but the center rotation has settled a bit: Festus Ezeli has excelled in the starting position, though Andrew Bogut has been playing significant minutes off the bench. Bogut even played more tonight than Festus did, playing 21 minutes to Festus' 16.  Marreese Speights, after an atrocious game yesterday, did not play today.
  • The wings had a forgettable game offensively.  Andre Iguodala, Klay Thomspon, and Harrison Barnes combined for 32 points on 36 shots.
  • It will forever amaze me how Draymond is able to defend big men in the post half a foot taller than him.  He stuffed Karl-Anthony Towns in a post-up situation tonight, a situation that by the laws of physics shouldn't occur.  But Draymond does it every night.  He's a monster.

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