Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
7:30 p.m. PST
Radio: KNBR 1050 AM | TV: CSN Bay Area
Buddy Blog: Canis Hoopus
In the greatest regular season in Golden State Warriors history, Stephen Curry has emerged as a clear-cut favorite for the MVP award from a fan perspective. While the media has generally portrayed the race as too close to call, Curry's 45 point eruption against Portland on Thursday night was a strong statement for his case. With three games left in the regular season, Curry will have another opportunity tonight to impress the MVP voters and lead the Dubs by extending their league-leading 36-2 home record.
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, have lost nine straight and find themselves in the basement of the Western Conference. In what has been a rebuilding season, their youngsters have played extended minutes due to injuries to veterans and mid-season trades. On the bright side for Wolves fans, the "Bounce Brothers," their rookie duo of Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins, are still only 20 years old and continue to flash their off-the-charts athleticism and All-Star potential.
Minnesota is without a plethora of players because of injuries and is coming off the front end of a road back-to-back in Los Angeles. This should be an uptempo game with both teams looking to push the pace and run whenever possible. For the Warriors, if they can avoid live-ball turnovers, keep the Timberwolves off the break, and prevent them from gaining confidence from the perimeter, this should be another win at the Roaracle.
Harrison Barnes will have the primary task of shutting down Andrew Wiggins. While Barnes' numbers don't jump out, his improved efficiency (40% FG% from last year to 48% this year, 35% 3P% from last year to 40% this year per NBA.com/Stats) is a contributing factor to Golden State's success.
Meanwhile, Andrew Wiggins has come out of the gates strong since All-Star weekend. As the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, Wiggins is averaging almost 20 points and 5 rebounds a game since the break. Wiggins is fresh off a 29 point, 10 rebound, 6 assist effort against the Lakers. Via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:
"There's not a discussion for Rookie of the Year," Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders declared Wednesday, before Minnesota's eighth straight defeat, a 25-point loss to the Blazers in which Wiggins scored 29 points and logged 41 minutes on the second night of a back-to-back. "Every time he goes into the game, the other team's scouting report is to stop him. ... I don't think you can take any [other] rookie and put him on our team, and we would be as good as we are, and they would do as well as [Wiggins has] done. ... Based on what he's been able to do, the amount of minutes he's played, what the expectations have been of him, he's been an A+."
- Steph Curry posts 27 points and 7 dimes, adds four more triples to his record
- Draymond Green gets a double-double
- Dubs' forwards hold Wiggins below 40% shooting from the field
- The Warriors take out the Timberwolves early and win 112-97!