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Preview: Warriors set to face Derrick Rose and the Timberwolves’ drama

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Derrick Rose is sharing a shaky spotlight with JImmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns, while the Warriors enter November hungering to weaponize some more joy

Cleveland Cavaliers v Minnesota Timberwolves Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Game Details

WHO: Minnesota Timberwolves (4-4) at Golden State Warriors (8-1)

WHEN: Friday, November 2nd, 2018 7:30 p.m. PST

WHERE: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA

WATCH: ESPN, NBCSBA, FSN+

LISTEN: 95.7 The Game

BUDDY BLOG: Canis Hoopus

Injuries

Warriors: Shaun Livingston (questionable, foot injury), DeMarcus Cousins (out, Achilles rehab)

Timberwolves: Tyus Jones (right foot soreness), Jeff Teague (bruised left knee) questionable


I’m feeling pretty good about the October that the world champion Golden State Warriors just put up.

They went a legit (although not perfect, thanks to a Denver Nuggets two point victory) 8-1 for the month. In addition, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green gleefully burned nightly to figure out their brightest selves. Their dominant performance for the month literally triggered longtime Dubs’ hater Nick Wright to refer to the defending, reigning, back-to-back world champions as those “annoying ass Warriors!”.

Noted.

Anyways, the champs are plenty satisfied in showcasing the learned lessons of multiple years of battle-tested continuity, in addition to smoothly transitioning to the “Post-Patrick McCaw” bench era.

Jonas Jerebko and Alfonzo McKinnie have traded “Golden Sidekick” awards over the past few games and both are playing with the confidence that emerges from being supported by a brilliant coaching staff and confidently patient teammates.

Per Phil Barber of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

(Warriors head coach) Steve Kerr wasn’t always sure it would develop like this.

“The first week of camp he was brilliant, and we were so excited,” the coach said of Jerebko. “And the next week, I think he hit a wall and he was kind of running in mud a little bit. I think it more just the physical toll of training camp and traveling and playing games. So his last week of camp was not that impressive. The game that really kind of seemed to catapult him was the Utah game.”

“JJ” is shooting 51% shooting from the field, and nearly 48% from three-point range (11-for-23). He hit 54% from distance in road games in the five road games. He’s also using effectively his body as a battering ram to free the Warriors orbiting shooters; he’s a tough, high-IQ hooper.

But did he buy his mom a house and then ball out in their home city the same night though? No sir, that would be his younger teammate, Alfonzo McKinnie.

With these two leading the bench fray, the Dubs’ reserves are averaging 41% shooting from beyond the arc, good enough for 6th highest in the NBA. The bench also averages the least threes attempted per game by any group of reserves at 6.7, with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Houston Rockets atop that list at around 16 attempted per game.

Curiously, Jerebko and McKinnie combined to shoot 19-of-38 (50%) from deep in October, while the rest of the champs’ bench shot 6-for-22 (27%) during the beginning of pumpkin season.

Let’s see how all this trends now that the Dubs have nailed the first level of the game that is this season’s road to the three-peat. The second level will commence with the visiting of the hurtling asteroid that is the Minnesota Timberwolves: the most dramatic team of 2018 basketball.

The sordid tale of the Minnesota Timberbulls

Tom Thibodeau’s epic quest to recreate his snakebitten Chicago Bulls teams of the early 2010’s has turned in the most predictable, macabre, Frankenstinian drama of recent basketball history. His best player, prodigy center Karl-Anthony Towns, is losing control of the franchise’s heart with uneven performances in the shadow of the disgruntled All-Star, Jimmy Butler.

Butler’s miraculous personal story and penchant for energetic heroics have turned him into a bulletproof figure in this tale. He ruined his first practice after missing training camp by bullying Towns and the rest of the Wolves, including screaming at their front office.

I can’t believe I just wrote that Butler is bullying an entire franchise.

Yet Butler seems to be the most media savvy on the team, as he has quietly made himself into the only sympathetic figure despite a situation HE created by making trade demands. He’s a dangerous two-way force through the melodrama, averaging 22.5 points on 50% shooting, 48% from the arc.

Butler may be the team’s hardiest player, and Towns may have the highest ceiling, but resurrected former MVP Derrick Rose is clearly the team’s heart right now. His 50 points and game saving block against the NBA hipsters-approved Utah Jazz shook the entire league. His fall from grace has been well documented, but through the injuries and the off-court issues, he somehow summoned a performance that struck a chord throughout the NBA.

Butler didn’t play in that last tilt due to “general soreness”.

Butler seems to be quite intent on playing tonight against the world champions in Oracle. The Timberwolves have a LOT of raw physical talent, and already have wins over the Jazz and the Indiana Pacers, two teams that made noise in the playoffs last season. If the Warriors play with their food, the Wolves are more than capable of making them pay.

Gold-Blooded Prediction: A thirsty Rose ignores a surly Butler down the stretch of a competitive battle and the amused Warriors explode for a gold-blooded knockout that gets someone in Minnesota either traded or fired.

Warriors 125, Timberwolves 114