April 09, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson (11) gestures after scoring a basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Man, the Golden State Warriors are chuckers. And when they’re chucking at a fairly successful rate, they’re hard to beat. That happened, and then some, on Tuesday night at Oracle Arena. Klay Thompson couldn’t miss for a long while, and the Wolves could not match the intensity or shot-making ability of a team on the cusp of their second playoff appearance in 18 years. They just had to do it against the only franchise with a worse current mark of playoff futility….
The game began with the Warriors content to settle for a flurry of contested mid-range jumpers, which afforded the Wolves some time to find their rhythm offensively. In fact, the Wolves’ offense hummed along quite nicely early in the game, and it was their defensive rotations that somewhat uncharacteristically lagged behind the crisp ball movement and quick releases of Golden State.
Klay Thompson in particular hurt the Wolves early, shooting a perfect 5 of 5 from the field and dropping 12 points on the visitors in the opening frame, helping the Warriors to manage a 26-26 tie headed to the start of the second quarter. The Wolves’ bench played very well towards the end of the first quarter and into the second, with both J.J. Barea and Chase Budinger putting some quick points on the board.
At the midway point in the second quarter, Thompson had already poured in 23 points in a surprisingly efficient fashion. This was especially frustrating, given his general not-goodness. For as good of a shooter as he allegedly is, his normally sub-par efficiency is a detriment to his team. Tuesday night against the Wolves just happened to be one of those nights where his jumper was falling from all over the court, creating a myriad of problems for the visitors.
The Wolves held a three point lead late in the first half, but failed to execute in the final minute and instead of owning a two-for-one situation for themselves, they handed it to Golden State and found themselves trailing 55-54 after a late burst from the Warriors.
The second half was extremely sloppy, and the Wolves managed to hang around through the midway point of the third quarter before allowing the crowd to get involved after a Klay Thompson-Luke Ridnour skirmish (and subsequent Ridnour technical foul) and an alley-oop that stretched the Warriors’ lead to double digits. Golden State would never look back, as they expanded their lead to 86-70 by the end of the frame and ran away with the game in the fourth quarter, eventually winning by a final tally of 105-89.
Some quick thoughts….
– So….remember Stephen Curry? 9.5 out of 10 people would have selected Curry immediately after Ricky Rubio in the 2009 NBA Draft. Wolves fans know this; we talk about it a lot. But let’s really think about it. Let it sink in until you can’t bear it any longer. Besides the obvious size limitations, Curry is exactly the kind of guard you would want to pair with Rubio. Exactly. Prototype. Ouch.
– Rubio could not hit the broadside of a barn on Tuesday night, shooting 0 for 10 on the night and pushing his streak of futility somewhere north of 20 shots with only 1 make. He finished with a line of 5 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal, and 1 turnover in just 22 minutes. Four of his assists came in the first quarter, and Rubio did not get off the bench in the fourth quarter of the blowout.
– I’m not asking for revisionist’s history on everything. Just give us the Curry-over-Flynn pick. We’ll still take Wes Johnson, Wayne Ellington, all those trades and free agent signings….Rubio/Curry/Kirilenko/Love/Pekovic with Budinger/Ridnour or Barea off the bench….yes please.
– The Wolves will be in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening to take on the Clippers at 9:30 CST.