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The Golden Breakdown: Making fun of that hilarious game against the Timberwolves

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Welp. The Warriors lose, then win (?), then lose again. Breaking down the chaos, the anger, and the hilariousness of it all during a wild Minnesota night.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Minnesota Timberwolves Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t you find these kinds of games somewhat ... thrilling? Sure, whenever the Warriors decide to play at their best and manage to “ROFLstomp” their opponents to oblivion, it’s perhaps the most entertaining brand of Warriors basketball out there. You kind of feel like that 7-foot guy who keeps blocking that 3rd grader’s shot over and over again.

Sometimes, the Warriors don’t even try, but they still manage to win comfortably because they’re just that damn talented. Just as Bob Fitzgerald said of Kevin Durant when he signed with the Warriors, the whole team scores like it’s breathing — it just comes as natural as a fact of life. When you have four of the best scorers in their position — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Durant, and DeMarcus Cousins — then there is practically no excuse for that ball to not find its way toward the bottom of the nylon.

The Warriors assert their 3rd quarter dominance

LOL, just kidding.

During that god-awful 3rd quarter — a period that the Warriors have historically claimed dominance over — the Warriors just couldn’t buy a bucket. Despite starting it with their usual five-All-Star lineup, the Warriors instead played the entire quarter as if they had five rec league players they randomly pulled out of the local YMCA.

The numbers they put up during that quarter sure made it feel that way. The Warriors, with their top-ranked offense in the league (114.7 offensive rating, with a 118.8 offensive rating in 3rd quarters, also top ranked), top-ranked field-goal percentage in the league (48.8 percent), and 3rd-ranked three-point field-goal percentage (38.0 percent), proceeded to produce a 3rd quarter performance worthy of floating in toilet water — scoring only 18 points, an abysmal offensive rating of 62.1, a field-goal percentage of 25 percent, and a three-point field-goal percentage of ... 0. Zilch. Nada.

Yes. They went 0-for-9 on threes in the 3rd quarter. They had the same amount of made threes in the 3rd as my 7th grade basketball team during an entire game. They had the same percentage on made threes in the 3rd as the percent chance that I would land a date with Scarlett Johansson. Hey, at least for one night, the Warriors and I had something in common in terms of shooting my shot.

The Warriors committing 8 turnovers in the 3rd quarter didn’t help matters either, and it was such a 180-degree turnaround in terms of taking care of the ball — in the first half alone, they only had 3 turnovers.

Meanwhile, the Timberwolves — who aren’t going to be a playoff team by any means, are down a couple of key players due to injuries, and was having their best player struggle all night long — managed to take advantage of the Warriors’ poor 3rd quarter performance by exploding for 32 points, enough to turn around a deficit that ballooned to as high as 19 points, and they did it mostly off the commendable efforts of their supporting cast. All-in-all, the Wolves finished the night with 8 players in double figures, including all 5 of their starters.

The Warriors assert their ability to come back from a lost game

The Warriors did kinda-sorta wake up in the 4th quarter, where they managed to send the game into overtime after being in danger of going down by double digits. With the game on the line, Steve Kerr re-inserted Durant relatively early in the 4th, at around the 9-minute mark. His presence made an impact right away, courtesy of an assist to Quinn Cook for the three that was made possible by his drive to the rim.

And also by taking matters into his own hands, being aggressive and drawing a foul while completing the tough finish.

With the Warriors struggling in the 2nd half in terms of three-point shooting, they disguise a Klay Thompson catch-and-shoot three by making it look like they are running a Durant/Curry pick-and-roll, with Curry popping out behind the line after setting the screen. The Wolves’ focus on that action renders them unable to account for Thompson running along the baseline, using staggered screens, and catching the pass for the crucial three.

This time, they run another Curry/Durant pick-and-roll, with Durant acting as the screener and popper. Curry draws two defenders onto him, which allows Durant the space and time to catch the pass and go up for the three.

Another Curry/Durant pick-and-roll results in a switch, with Andrew Wiggins guarding Curry, who manages to bury the shot right in Wiggins’ face.

Do the Warriors go back to hero ball in this possession? Not quite. They manage to use their exquisite free-flowing motion offense, ball movement, and the gravity of Curry to get a dunk from Andre Iguodala. The Wolves choose to blitz when Curry gets a screen from Green, which flows into a Curry/Green pick and short roll. A virtual 2-on-1 situation allows Green to drop the ball to Iguodala, who is wide open for the dunk.

A series of clutch plays from both ends of the floor — Curry on offense, and Green on defense — ensure that the Warriors are given a second lease on life.

After Durant hauls in the rebound, the Wolves focus their attention on him bringing down the ball toward the right wing. They lose track of Curry suddenly making a beeline toward the top of the arc and getting the pass from Durant. Wiggins tries to catch up and contest, but he falls victim to Curry’s pump fake. One rhythm dribble later, Curry nails the wide-open look.

Not long after, Green asserts his dominance on the defensive end by snatching the ball away from the Wolves’ two main offensive players. He manages to poke the ball away from Karl-Anthony Towns, leading to fastbreak opportunity for Durant. Towns makes up for his mistake by blocking Durant from behind. With Wiggins handling the ball, Green gets switched onto him, gets hold of the ball, and is fouled by Wiggins. He would make one of his two free throws, sending the game into overtime.

The hilarious overtime period

This is when chaos started to really rear its ugly head. After working so hard to come back from a precarious deficit to send the game into overtime, the Warriors then allowed the Wolves to erect another significant lead.

A series of threes by Anthony Tolliver, Jerryd Bayless, and Josh Okogie gave the Wolves a 128-119 lead with just under 2 minutes left to go in overtime, while the Warriors were only able to score 2 points in the same timeframe. It was looking like their 0-4 record in overtime this season was on its way to becoming 0-5, further adding to the Warriors’ reputation for blowing it in extra time and being unable to finish.

But Curry, ever the clutch performer, delivered by hitting two consecutive threes.

Here’s where the wild part comes in. Down 3 with about 6 seconds left in overtime, the Warriors draw up an ATO play, and end up with a Durant three that goes in plus the foul.

Or so we all thought.

I think the tweet displaying that entire endgame sequence tells the whole story. Durant gets fouled while shooting the three, but referee Marat Kogut inexplicably rules that as a non-shooting foul. That was a CRUCIAL call/non-call. If Durant got that call, the Warriors would’ve entered the next defensive sequence with a one-point lead, assuming that Durant would’ve buried the free throw.

Karma struck soon enough, when Curry proceeded to bury the game tying three. Afterwards, he proceeded to point and taunt at Kogut, in pretty much the same way fans do to players who are on the wrong end of an eye-catching highlight.

Steph is one of us!!

But how would you feel if you were a referee who made a highly dubious call, was pointed at tauntingly by one of the league’s superstars, and said sequence was posted all over social media? Not too good, I’d imagine.

So Kogut’s colleague, Leon Wood, basically said “I gotchu, bruh” and called this crucial foul on Durant to send Towns to the line.

Towns makes one free throw, which seals the deal. In the span of about 6 in-game seconds, the emotions went from “Damn, Kerr better draw up a good ATO play,” to “FOUR POINT PLAY BABY KD ICE COLD,” to “WHAT?!! HOW COULD THAT NOT BE A SHOOTING FOUL?!!” to “MARRY ME STEPH YOU BEAUTIFUL MAN!” to “HOW COULD THE REF CALL THAT YOU DO NOT CALL THAT AT THE END OF GAMES!!”

An emotional rollercoaster indeed. You could tell the Warriors were especially riled up by it when their leader — someone who’s usually reserved and diplomatic when it comes to these things — blatantly calls out the referees by name.

Yup. Curry took a cue from his teammate and called out who the real MVP was.

Durant called out Kogut by name too. There were no tongues held back after the game, that’s for sure.

Ohh boy, the NBA is going to make bank off of these comments. Meanwhile, the fans are, understandably, upset at the refereeing. But remember, the Warriors put themselves in a position to lose by throwing away the 3rd quarter — a significant chunk of the blame still has to go to them.

That doesn’t take away from the hilarity of this game though. It was crazy, it was fun, and it was entertaining as a loss could possibly get.

Me too, Andre. Me too.

Seventy-five down, 7 more to go.

Stay Golden, Dub Nation.