Well, I think we can all agree that that wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. The Wolves faced off against the Golden State Supervillains in a matchup of the present versus the future and not surprisingly, the present won.
Despite a torrid start from a splishy-splashy Wiggins, the Wolves fell behind early, going down as by eight right off the bat. Both teams’ respective big threes were clicking early on, with all six members scoring at least eight points on better than 50% shooting, and Towns and LaVine fed nicely off of Wiggins’ energy, coming back to cut the lead to three at the end of the first.
The second quarter opened up with two minutes of scoreless, ugly basketball. The Wolves were unable to capitalize on any of the Dubs’ mistakes, and you can’t beat a team as good as this without making them pay for miscues. Oh and Shabazz kicked off his brief eight minutes of action tonight with an airballed three that was off the mark even by air all standards. There are many writers at this site who are ready to ride and die with Shabazz. I am not one of them.
Mid-way through the second quarter, Javale McGee entered the game to a full-on ovation. Say what you will about these Golden State fans, but they love their random bench dudes. Things seemed to be going pretty well as the half ticked down until Kevin Durant rudely crossed Rubio over and unleashed a devastating buzzer beater to push the lead to eight at half.
And then came the third. Shockingly, a team that has struggled in third quarters throughout the season struggled in the third quarter against the best team in basketball. KD lit up the Wolves for the first half of the quarter. Then Steph decided it was his turn and scored the last 12 Golden State points to give him 28 by the end of the third frame. By the time the dust had cleared, the Wolves were entering the fourth down 73-90.
The fourth and thankfully final quarter was one of hopeless futility, ridiculous Dieng/LaVine shot making, and a fake-ass comeback that never felt remotely threatening. Not a terrible game overall for the young Minnesotans, but not terrible ain’t gonna cut it against the Warriors.
Dribs and Drabs:
Wiggins and Towns combined for 9 points on 3-18 shooting in the second half. Curry and KD combined for 33 points on 11-15 in the same time frame. I wonder if that made a difference?
At one point in the third, McGee hung in the air for an absurd amount of time before emphatically swatting a Wiggins drive. Two minutes later Wiggs unleashed a cyclonado of aggression onto the once and future Shaqtin’ MVP in the form of an earthquake-inducing jam. It may have been better than the Rudy jam from last year. Hell, it may have been better than LaVine’s posterization of Alex Len last night. There’s an outside chance I wet my pants when Wiggins extended over McGee’s long lanky arm, cocked back and slammed it home.
Zach LaVine was cooking up some lava-hot soup in the fourth quarter, ending with 31 points on 5-12 from deep after only hitting one of his first five threes. He really loves playing against these guys, huh?
KD rocked Wiggins for a final line of 28 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. The Dubs’ big three combined for 85 points, 24 rebounds, 13 assists and 11 threes. Life isn’t fair sometimes.
Insidious third quarter woes aside, the Wolves simply gave up way too many open looks and didn’t take care of the ball nearly as well as you have to against a tippy-top flight team. Even without Draymond, this was a pretty breezy win for the bad guys.
Let this be a lesson to the young bloods: just showing up isn’t enough. Just being talented isn’t enough. Everyone in the NBA is talented (except maybe Omer Asik). You have to take care of the rock and stick to the other teams’ shooters like flypaper. If you’re not ready to do that against the best team in the league, you’re not ready to be taken seriously come April. Time to shape up.
Up next: the challenge continues against the league’s second best defense. Wolves vs Jazz Monday (11/28) at 8:00 pm EST. Nothing easy!