Wolves humbled by talented Warriors squad
NOV 06, 2013 10:53p ET
For the second straight night, they were out of rhythm. Flat. Not "all there," as point guard J.J. Barea put it.
"We just didn't do anything very well tonight," Adelman said after his team's 106-93 loss to Golden State.
But the most perplexing part of the Timberwolves' second straight setback and first at home in a young, cautiously promising season is that there were chances. Plenty of them.
And they couldn't capitalize.
"A couple times, we was right there," shooting guard Kevin Martin said, "and then we made some mental lapses that caused them to get up by 10, 12 again."
Through three quarters, the NBA's most potent 3-point shooting team of a year ago and second-best so far this year was 3-of-13 from beyond the arc. Outside ringleader Stephen Curry never got involved and exited in the third quarter following a tangle-up with Ricky Rubio.
The Warriors' big men ran into foul trouble. Center Andrew Bogut picked up his fifth personal with 5:27 left in the third, and power forward David Lee's fourth came 11 seconds later. Bogut went on to foul out.
And even on a second straight subpar shooting evening, the Timberwolves (3-2) were within three points of tying at halftime and with 4 minutes, 14 seconds left in the third. They would've walked into the fourth down by just five if not for a buzzer-beating 3 by Marreese Speights.
But as that foretelling shot suggested, Golden State (4-1) had an answer each and every time.
"We were only down three at halftime, then we came out and we just never sustained anything on either end of the court," Adelman said. "I thought we played with just like a frenzy: 'we're gonna win the game with one possession,' and not get any rhythm going at all."
Until the fourth, neither did the Warriors.
Then Klay Thompson decided he'd had enough.
In a three-minute span early in the fourth quarter, Golden State's shooting guard erupted for 13 straight points that handed Minnesota an unquenchable deficit. His 19 fourth-quarter points were three shy of equaling the Timberwolves' final-frame total.
Shooting 52 percent from 3 coming in, Thompson started the night by missing 7 of 9 shots in the first half. He then went 5-for-6 from distance in the last period and finished with a game-high 30 points.
He did it all without Curry, whom coach Mark Jackson said sustained a bone bruise in his left foot and another minor injury to his right knee.
"When you see three or four go in in a row, especially from the 3-point line and you get an open look, you're just in a certain flow," Thompson said. "You just don't even think about it. Just let it go."
With Rubio (seven points, seven assists, four turnovers) failing to sustain any offensive input, Adelman was forced to leave Barea in and task him with guarding Thompson. The Puerto Rican point guard is listed as 6 feet and is probably closer to 5-9; the Washington State-bred two-guard stands 6 feet, 7 inches.
Alexey Shved, who's 6-6, has yet to contribute meaningfully, too, rendering him a non-option on the perimeter as the Timberwolves tried to come back.
"We've got to get him going," Adelman said of Shved, who's shooting 20 percent this year. "He hasn't played very well to this point, and we need him off the bench."
The entire second unit was a culprit Wednesday. Harrison Barnes (14 points) helped Golden State's bench outscore Minnesota's 27-10.
Adelman spelled his starters by sending out Barea, Shved, Dante Cunningham, Derrick Williams and Gorgui Dieng to start the second quarter. The Timberwolves started the night shooting 12-for-21, then went 2-for-11 during the first 6:52 of the second.
They missed five layups during that stretch.
After shooting 36.2 percent in a loss Monday at Cleveland, Minnesota went 34-for-90 (37.8 percent) from the field against Golden State. Kevin Love (25 points) and Kevin Martin (23) combined to shoot 42.5 percent; their teammates: 34 percent.
"No rhythm at all," Barea said.
Nikola Pekovic wasn't nearly as sure-handed as the big man who led the Timberwolves in scoring last season, missing a few high-percentage shots and finishing with just 10 points and seven rebounds. Dieng, Pekovic's backup while Ronny Turiaf nurses a fractured elbow, struggled for a third straight outing and picked up three fouls in 6 minutes, 16 seconds.
Minnesota's interior issues made Bogut and Lee's own foul problems a footnote. The latter scored 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting and pulled down 15 boards.
Love chipped in 16 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double to open the year, but the post he helps man looked more like a liability than the strength it was projected to be this season.
"These first three games looked pretty good," Pekovic said, "then we slid a little bit."
Even so, Minnesota led by eight in the first quarter, trailed just 50-47 at halftime and had re-closed the gap to 67-64 with 4:14 left in the third. Then Andre Iguodala (20 points) bookended an 8-0 Warriors run with two separate free throws and a 3 that made it 75-64.
The Timberwolves mounted one more miniature rally to cut it to five before Speights' buzzer-defying 3 rattled home and was upheld upon video review, giving way to Thompson's fourth-quarter takeover.
Three wins followed by two losses. The ebb and flow of an NBA season officially weaseled their way into Minnesota's consciousness Wednesday.
A reality check may already be in order.
"It's early, and I just told them sometimes you have some success early in the season, and you think you've arrived or something," Adelman said. "It almost gives you false security just because you've won some games. We're playing some good teams, and we're finding out about ourselves. They were better than we were."
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