The Minnesota Timberwolves have a big challenge ahead as they face-off against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night.
Although the Warriors are missing a piece to their puzzle in Kevin Durant, a victory over the team with the league’s best record would be huge statement win as the Timberwolves continue to chase the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Since their last losing streak at the beginning of February, the Timberwolves are an impressive 7-4 with convincing wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz and, for the most part, well-played losses to some of the league’s best teams in Cleveland, Houston, and San Antonio.
The Wolves have pulled to within 2.5 games of the Denver Nuggets with one head-to-head game between the two teams upcoming. While a lot must go right to gain a playoff berth and a likely series with these Golden State Warriors, Minnesota is doing everything it can to get there and playing exceedingly well as of late.
Golden State, on the other hand, without superstar Kevin Durant, has lost three of its past five games. The team has been held under 90 points twice in that stretch — something very uncommon to the Warriors over the past few years.
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While the Warriors have clinched a playoff spot and will get Durant back in a few weeks, the team is still fighting off San Antonio to hold onto their number-one seed and the home court advantage that comes with it.
In the first meeting between these two teams, the Warriors cruised to a 115-102 victory over the Wolves on their home floor. However, in the second match-up, Minnesota played Golden State well, leading by Warriors by ten going into the final quarter before the Warriors got hot and came back for the victory.
This time around, the Wolves will be without guard Zach LaVine, who scored 31 and 25 points, respectively, in the two previous games against the Warriors this season. Guard Brandon Rush missed Wednesday’s game with L.A. with an illness, but may be available for Friday.
The Warriors, as mentioned earlier, are without forward Kevin Durant as he recovers from a knee injury. Durant has averaged 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and three blocks against the Timberwolves this season.
Let’s take a closer look at the match-up…