The Golden State Warriors picked up a much-needed win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night, but if we’re being honest, it wasn’t that impressive. The Dubs didn’t look particularly sharp or dynamic, and struggled to pull away from a Wolves team that was missing both Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.
As such, Steve Kerr didn’t seem overly pleased with his team’s performance.
Steve Kerr says he doesn't feel like the Warriors played well, they "won on talent"— Golden State of Mind (@unstoppablebaby) January 26, 2021
Still, a win is a win. Let’s see how they did on the keys to victory.
Let Steph eat
The key: Unleash Steph Curry from the very start.
The outcome: The Warriors came out guns blazing, as they built a 19-4 lead. And Curry had a dynamic game, with 36 points on 11-for-21 shooting, including 7-for-12 from distance.
They didn’t really unleash him from the start, though. Curry had nine first quarter points, and didn’t take a shot until the team’s fifth possession of the game.
The Warriors offense is predicated on motion and selflessness, and Curry deserves a lot of credit for buying into that and encouraging his teammates to do the same. On Monday we saw glimpses of how dynamic that can be, but the team could still benefit from treating him a little bit more like the super duper star that he is.
Grading the key: 5 out of 10.
Keep the ball moving
The key: Move the ball and take advantage of Minnesota’s poor defense.
The outcome: The Warriors definitely took advantage of Minnesota’s poor defense, as they poured in 130 points.
The ball was often stagnant though, with many of the Warriors shots coming out of isolation situations. Despite making 44 baskets, the Dubs tallied just 21 assists. It wasn’t a bad offensive game, but it wasn’t the dynamic one you would hope for when facing a hilariously bad defensive team.
Grading the key: 5.5 out of 10.
Keep the Minny offense inefficient
The key: Force the Wolves into isolations and poor shot selection, limiting efficiency.
The outcome: The Wolves offense was not as isolation-heavy as the Warriors, as they netted five more assists on five fewer made baskets.
But they were rather inefficient, shooting 41.5% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc, and getting to the free throw line just 25 times to Golden State’s 37 attempts.
Was it a shut-down, disciplined defensive performance? Far, far from it.
But it was good enough for a win.
Grading the key: 4.5 out of 10.
The key: Regain some swagger.
The outcome: Having Klay Thompson on the bench helped.
I workshopped a few captions for this and they all sucked so anyways, here's klay thompson pic.twitter.com/JmdfBCZ75h— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) January 26, 2021
And having Curry do those ridiculously ruthless things he does to humiliate inexperienced players helped too.
That's just not fair. pic.twitter.com/iHEVzRNqZF— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 26, 2021
Which definitely led to some swagger.
Legend has it, he's still holding this follow-through#UltraMoment || @MichelobULTRA pic.twitter.com/l3cK7l1pN6— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 26, 2021
There was definitely some swagger in the building.
Grading the key: 8 out of 10.
The Dubs didn’t hit their keys beautifully, but it was enough to beat Minnesota on Monday, and it will likely be enough to beat Minnesota on Wednesday.
But then they’ll have to do a little better.