Tanking or not, the Golden State Warriors had no business losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves last night. They took control of the game in the third quarter, and led for a majority of the second half. A D’Angelo Russell jumper with a little over two minutes remaining put the Warriors up by six points. Here’s how Golden State squandered the lead and lost in overtime 125-119.
Lack of Rebounding
Similar to last week’s loss to Charlotte, the Warriors could not secure critical rebounds. Leading by four with 25 seconds remaining, the Warriors could have put the game away by grabbing a board. The Wolves’ Robert Covington bricked a three but Karl Anthony Towns wrestled the loose ball away from Marquese Chriss. Towns hit both free throws after the Chriss foul to slice the lead to two.
Just like in the Hornets game, head coach Steve Kerr didn’t have Willie Cauley-Stein out there to rebound. While Cauley-Stein was ineffective on offense, he at least snagged eight rebounds to go along with three blocks. Why was Cauley-Stein off the floor again? For a team that lacks size and depth in the frontcourt, you would think the Warriors would keep a dependable rebounder. Not having that on the floor was senseless.
Defense to Offense... For the Wolves
Minnesota employed a full court press after the Towns free throws. Rookie Eric Paschall attempted to pass to Alec Burks on the inbound. The Wolves trapped Burks, forcing Burks to pass the ball back to Paschall, who was also doubled. An errant pass by Paschall forced a jump ball and Andrew Wiggins tied the game with a layup in transition. Instead of trying to force another pass to Burks, Paschall could have passed to an open Glenn Robinson III. If not that, a couple of Warriors could have returned to the backcourt to give Paschall more options.
Short term Vs Long Term ‘Success’
It’s no secret that the Warriors are regrouping for next year and ‘embracing the tank’. However, that still doesn’t negate winning what’s winnable and what winning would do for this young Warriors team.
Winning builds momentum and confidence. After the Blazers’ win, you could best believe that the players had a sense of confidence and an eagerness to absorb more of what they are learning through the coaches.
Losing may benefit the Warriors’ lottery chances. However, the players are playing for the moment. The moment for the Warriors is about development and maintaining motivation for a grueling season. It’s also about dashes of pride. This active roster may boast g-leaguers, journeymen, and low risk-high reward rookies, but that doesn’t mean they don't want to compete or want to win. This season will have enough of losses necessary for the lottery especially the more that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green sits. They will lose the games that they need to. So why not try to win the games that they can?