The Golden State Warriors shut down the Minnesota Timberwolves late in the game to win 116-108.
The top four starters ultimately had a pretty good game offensively despite early struggles, but the heroes of the night were the veterans.
Klay Thompson quietly led the team with 30 points, while Draymond Green had a 3-point explosion on his way to 18 points. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry each had 22 points with Durant getting many of his at the free-throw line, going 9-of-9 after struggling through most of the game with an abysmal shooting percentage. Meanwhile, Curry led the team with 9 assists.
However, it was David West, Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala that kept the team alive late in the game, giving them a much-needed edge in the fourth quarter, as the veterans shut the young Timberwolves down with expert defense.
Stop and go was the theme of the first quarter. Shortly after Kevon Looney won the tip, the game clock stopped working and delayed the game. This was followed by some confusion about an injury on the Timberwolves’ end that held up the game some more.
Green and Thompson put up a trio of 3-point shots, but fouls would serve to slow the pace of the entire first quarter. The Warriors were perfect on free-throw attempts, but a string of six fouls called against all three centers in the quarter (Looney, JaVale McGee and David West) in the first nine minutes put the Warriors in a questionable position with Zaza Pachulia’s injury.
The majority of Curry’s assists came in the first quarter as he directed the flow of the offense, despite meager shooting himself, to close out the first quarter up 30-27.
The Timberwolves were out-shooting the Warriors to start the second quarter, but Livingston and Green quickly put an end to that, with Livingston getting three field goals in a row, followed shortly by a trio of 3-point shots from Green (with a Durant dunk in there for good measure). Coach Steve Kerr chose to close out the half with the so-called Death Lineup, but this rotation of players wasn’t able to shut down the Timberwolves. Despite having a seven-point lead at the two-minute mark, Golden State was outscored 8-3 to close the half up by two points.
The third quarter was a mess. Despite a trio of 3-point shots from Green and Curry, the Warriors lacked energy and shot efficiency. In the second part of the third quarter, Golden State had zero made field goals and only three points off of free-throws in six minutes. Minnesota built on their lead to end the third quarter up 88-78.
None of that mattered in the fourth quarter, however, as the veteran defense of David West and Andre Iguodala held the Timberwolves to six points in the first eight minutes of the quarter. Meanwhile, Thompson and Durant traded jump-shots to lead the Warriors on a 28-point run in that time period. The Timberwolves bounced back, getting back within a two-possession deficit, but excellent defense and a timely Thompson dagger shot with just under a minute left shut the door on this one, as the Warriors ended up winning 116-108.
Draymond Green on David West and the Warriors second unit taking over the game pic.twitter.com/VhTFoowNfp— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 12, 2016
The Warriors maintain their hold on the best record in the NBA at 21-4 as they continue a challenging road trip. They next head to New Orleans to face Anthony Davis (and the Pelicans) on Tuesday at 5:00pm PST.