Minnesota Timberwolves: Key takeaways from road loss to Golden State Warriors

D'Angelo Russell and the Minnesota Timberwolves fell short to the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images)
D'Angelo Russell and the Minnesota Timberwolves fell short to the Golden State Warriors. (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images) /

The moon may have been out on Wednesday night, but the Minnesota Timberwolves did not howl as the Warriors got up early and kept their foot on the throats of the Wolves.

Minnesota Timberwolves lose on the road to the Golden State Warriors

Anthony Edwards took the pre-draft comparisons to Andrew Wiggins personally as he battled back and forth with him to combine for the first six buckets of the game. The battle continued throughout, Edwards scoring 23 points in the first half to Wiggins’ 22.

The first quarter was all offense, but surprisingly, Stephen Curry wasn’t that active early. Karl-Anthony Towns was aggressive but shot just 2-of-9 in the first quarter, while the Wolves shot 66 percent as a team in the opening six minutes of the game.

Ultimately, Wiggins and Edwards combined for 23 of the first 40 total points of the game. Edwards finished the first quarter with 16 points, but the Wolves found themselves down 28-31.

The second-quarter chemistry and ball movement from the Warriors was a thing of beauty as they looked to be having the time of their lives, while the Wolves couldn’t stop turning it over; the Warriors led the Wolves 16-0 in fast-break points with seven minutes left in the second.

The Wolves, on the other hand, resembled all the bad of the All-Star game with many iso possessions and little defense. The Warriors shooting percentage remained high at 64 percent, while the Wolves fell to 40 percent by the break, and Minnesota found themselves down 69-54 at the half.

The Wolves needed their Big Three to show up, but Towns and D’Angelo Russell were quiet and pretty much nonexistent throughout the first half. Edwards did his best to keep them in the game, and the beginning of the third was mostly back and forth with the Golden State lead flexing from 10-20.

Once Draymond Green banged knees with Jaden McDaniels and headed to the locker room midway through the third quarter, however, the Wolves started to score without the elite defender on the floor and pulled to within single digits at the 2:40 mark. Russell joined the party in the third quarter, scoring 12 in the frame. But the deficit never shrunk below four points, and the Wolves headed to the fourth down by a score of 93-84.

Minnesota failed to show up in the fourth in multiple games this season, but early on in the final frame on Wednesday things looked a bit better.

While Russell and Edwards the charge in the third, head coach Chris Finch took them both out to start the fourth. It was a questionable move but seemed to be working at first as the team crept within five with 9:30 left in the game.

But with the starters on the bench till the 8:20 mark, the Warriors built their lead back up to 13. Luckily for the Wolves, Edwards did not cool off on the bench and brought the deficit back to just five with just under five minutes to play.

Indeed, Edwards showed up for all four quarters, but it proved to be too little, too late as the Warriors pulled away in the final minutes winning 123-110.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Key takeaways from loss to Golden State Warriors

Andrew Wiggins vs. Anthony Edwards

We have all had a chip on our shoulder that elevated our performance in one way or another, and that was the case for Andrew Wiggins tonight.

The battle between the two former first-overall picks was a good one, as the duo traded buckets throughout. Wiggins finished with a season-high 35 points and had two poster dunks, while Edwards finished with a career-high 48.

The generally lazy prospect comparison of Edwards to Wiggins seemed on point tonight. Still, it’s fair to expect Edwards to continue to show up even when it’s not a revenge game.

We got a good one, Timberwolves fans.

The Draymond Green Effect

The injury to Green gave new life to the Timberwolves, and they were able to make this game interesting in the second half.

The energy seemed to be drained from the Warriors for a long stretch and the Wolves took advantage. The only problem, of course, was that they had already dug themselves a deep hole.

The Wolves need to find a way to game plan around elite defense. After all, there are good defenders on most teams, and those players aren’t always going to be leaving other games early. It seemed as though the Wolves hid in a shell when the Warriors had good flow instead of matching it.

The other team shouldn’t have to struggle in order for Minnesota to get going. The Wolves need to learn how to control the game instead of letting other teams dictate what happens.

The Big One out of Three

The easiest and most logical formula for success is to have the Big Three of Towns, Edwards, and Russell all show up to the game.

The problem, of course, is that this simply hasn’t been the case. Russell only had four points until late in the third quarter, Towns only had one make inside the arc and zero free throw attempts, and Edwards just couldn’t do it all himself.

Next. Player grades from Wolves' loss to Golden State Warriors. dark

The vibe of the team seems to be snowballing down a steep slope.  Time will tell if the team can figure it out, but we’re already more than 10 percent through the schedule, and the clock is ticking.