Two .500 teams much in need of a winning streak go head-to-head Sunday afternoon in San Francisco when the Minnesota Timberwolves visit the Golden State Warriors.
The meeting is one of two remaining at Golden State for the set of Western Conference playoff contenders who split games at Minnesota earlier this season.
The most recent of those encounters took place earlier this month, when the Timberwolves clamped down defensively in overtime, holding the Warriors without a 3-pointer in five attempts during the extra period and just four points overall for a 119-114 triumph.
Golden State had its long-range offensive game in high gear Friday night at home against the Houston Rockets, making a season-high-tying 26 3-pointers -- one off the NBA record -- in a 116-101 victory.
The Warriors’ Klay Thompson delivered in just his second back-to-back of the season and did so without Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green. Thompson torched the Rockets with 12 3-pointers in 17 attempts, missing his own individual NBA record for made 3-pointers by just two.
“He was brilliant tonight,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr gushed. “It’s so great to see him now at the point where he can do this. This was his second back-to-back. He looked great out there. Playing 35 minutes on the second night of back-to-back, that’s big-time.”
Thompson shot 5-for-8 on 3-point attempts on a 21-point night when the Warriors won 137-114 at Minnesota in November. Golden State received a combined 61 points from Curry, Wiggins and Green in that game.
Thompson might have Green alongside this time as the veteran took Friday off to rest a bruised knee. But Curry remains out at least another week with a knee injury, and there’s no timetable on the return of Wiggins, who’s been away from the team for personal reasons.
While the Warriors try to build upon Friday’s win with four more home games in the next six days, the Timberwolves let an opportunity slip away when it absorbed consecutive home losses to the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets on each end of the All-Star break.
The Timberwolves got 15 points from Mike Conley - his most in four games with the team - during Friday’s 121-113 loss to the Hornets. Perhaps more important than anything, the veteran point guard got more acquainted with his new teammates.
“We’re not going to make every shot,” Conley said. “So when we don’t make shots, what can we run? How can we get to the free-throw line and not turn it over? Those things that we’re all capable of doing individually. Guys can get better at decision-making. Guys can get better at giving guys the ball and getting back in urgency on defense late in games.”
The Timberwolves embark on a four-game California swing against Western Conference contenders against both Los Angeles teams and the Sacramento Kings, following the stop in San Francisco. But it do so without Karl-Anthony Towns, who has missed the last 41 games with a calf injury.
Minnesota coach Chris Finch believes the Towns is close to returning, but that might not be until the Timberwolves return home to host the Philadelphia 76ers on March 7. That would mean the Warriors would see him in their final head-to-head on March 26.
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