Timberwolves Wrap: Wolves fall just short to Warriors

Mar 21, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots in the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) shoots in the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

86. 109. 41. Final. 104

After a back-and-forth affair throughout the entire game, the mighty Golden State Warriors pulled ahead down the stretch and held on to win, 109-104.

The Wolves played extremely well, leading by as many as seven points. In fact, the Warriors never managed to lead by more than six all evening long.

Golden State was obviously a bit lackadaisical, from being nonchalant with their passing to lax getting back in transition. They were also cold from the perimeter,shooting just 8-for-24 from beyond the arc on the evening — pretty close to league-average but not exactly what we’re used to seeing from the Warriors.

Minnesota did nearly everything right to win this game, but getting beat on the boards by a 44-37 margin was a big reason why the visitors were able to hang on. The Wolves also could not slow down the Warriors big men (and even their guards) in the paint.

Draymond Green shot 10-of-13 from the field en route to 24 points, plus he added nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, and three blocks in typical Draymond fashion.

The Wolves did an outstanding job in slowing down Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, as they combined to shoot just 11-for-31 from the field. Thompson was a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range, but Curry was just 2-for-9 from distance. Ricky Rubio and Zach LaVine did a generally solid job using their length and activity to bother the Warriors back court for much of the evening.

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In what continued to be a back-and-forth game, the Wolves once again drifted away from the pick-and-roll action that kept them in the game all night long and shifted towards isolation sets for Andrew Wiggins. It was predictable, and Steve Kerr‘s squad was ready.

Wiggins shot just 8-for-21 on the night and struggled mightily down the stretch. Trailing by just two points and taking possession with 33 seconds on the clock, Wiggins rushed into a turnaround, 20-foot jumper on the right wing over Draymond Green with six seconds still remaining on the shot clock.

Green, of course, is arguably the best defensive player in the NBA, and Andrew missed badly. A pair of free throws by Curry stretched the Warriors lead to four points, leading to a Sam Mitchell timeout with 13.3 seconds left.

The Wolves drew up a three-point attempt by Wiggins in the left corner, and Curry fouled him with 7.1 seconds remaining.

Wiggins missed the first free throw, however, and after making the second, Mitchell chose to use the Wolves final timeout and have Wiggins miss the final shot on purpose. The Warriors corralled the rebound, however, and that was it.

Overall, it was an extremely fun game to watch, and the Wolves did nearly enough to win. Sure, it helped that the Warriors had an off night from three-point land, but that’s exactly what needs to happen if anyone is going to beat them, not just the Wolves.

Also, great performances from Rubio and Karl-Anthony Towns, and a solid game once again from LaVine. It’s fun to see the young players step up big on an important stage.

Tweets of the Night

Star of the Night

Ricky Rubio -“ 20 points (5-9 FG, 3-7 3P, 7-7 FT), 11 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, one block, 6 turnovers

The only blemish on Rubio’s evening was the six turnovers, four of which came early in the first quarter. His defense on Curry was solid, and he was active enough in the passing lanes and on switches in the post in which he was put into exceedingly tough positions to disrupt the Golden State offense for much of the night.

Seven of his nine shot attempts were from beyond the arc, which is probably what Rubio’s shot chart should look like when Wiggins and Towns are getting so many post touches.

And once again, Rubio’s energy was infectious and the Wolves seemed lost when he wasn’t on the floor.

Notable Timberwolves Lines

Karl-Anthony Towns – 24 points (11-19 FG, 1-1 3P, 1-2 FT), 11 rebounds, 2 assists, one block, 2 turnovers

Andrew Wiggins – 25 points (8-21 FG, 1-3 3P, 8-11 FT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists, one steal, one block, one turnover

Zach LaVine – 19 points (7-13 FG, 2-5 3P, 3-4 FT), 4 assists, 2 steals, one steal, 2 turnovers

It’s too bad that Wiggins struggled so much down the stretch, as he had a well-rounded game. In a rarity for the reigning Rookie of the Year, he grabbed five rebounds and dished out four assists while only turning the ball over one time.

Who’s Next?

The Wolves will stay at home and host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday evening before heading out east to play the Wizards in our nation’s capital on Friday night.

Next: On the Timberwolves' Improved Offensive Efficiency

Wednesday is a great chance to keep the good feeling going for the Wolves, although there is certainly a chance that they could have a letdown after a close loss against a historically great team in front of a huge home crowd on Monday. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.