Wed, 01 Feb 2023

Warriors visit Timberwolves with road woes in tow

Field Level Media
27 Nov 2022, 06:40 GMT+10

Two days after seeing the new-look Utah Jazz for the first time this season, the Golden State Warriors will get up-close-and-personal with Rudy Gobert in a different uniform when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon.

The Warriors flew to the Midwest with a two-game winning streak, not surprising since their previous two games were at home. They've won nine of their 10 home games this season, while losing nine of 10 on the road.

En route to the NBA championship last season, the Warriors followed that same pattern in games against the Timberwolves, winning by an average of 11 points in two home games, but losing by an average of 17.5 in two visits to Minnesota.

Karl-Anthony Towns was the biggest thorn in the Warriors' side in the Timberwolves' home success, contributing 26 points and 11 rebounds to a 119-99 romp in January, then 39 points and nine rebounds to a 129-114 triumph in March.

Towns had 5 of 10 and 3 of 6 outings from 3-point range among his four head-to-heads with Golden State, which might not bode well for the Warriors in this year's first meeting.

With the addition of former Jazz big man Gobert inside, Towns is shooting more 3-pointers than ever, having already hoisted 111 in 19 games. He is on pace for 479 for the season, which would be 113 more than his previous career best.

Yet, Towns' 33.3-percent success rate currently is a career-low and comes one year after he hit at a 41.0-percent clip.

Towns' teammates have been even less accurate on their 3-point attempts. Minnesota will take one of the league's lowest success rates from deep into Sunday's contest at 32.6 percent.

"If we're shown zone, it helps to hit 3-pointers, and that's one thing we've been struggling with," Towns said. "So I expect teams to play more zone against us just because of the fact that we're not hitting the 3."

Gobert hasn't been a part of the problem. He's attempted just two 3-pointers all season, missing both, while focusing on his strong interior game. Gobert made 63.4 percent of his shots from the field, averaging 13.8 points to complement 12.8 rebounds.

While playing for Utah, Gobert averaged 15.3 points and 19.0 rebounds in three games against Golden State last season. He made 19 of his 29 shots.

Focusing on attacking the hoop might be a good strategy for the Timberwolves against the Warriors since a 3-point shootout with Golden State never is a bright idea.

In the Warriors' just-completed two-game homestand, which featured wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Jazz, they connected on a total of 39 shots from 3-point range, with Stephen Curry going 10 of 23, Klay Thompson 9 of 19 and Andrew Wiggins 9 of 16.

Curry hopes a defense that allowed 112.5 points in the two-game home winning streak travels to Minnesota, helping the Warriors end a run of four consecutive road games allowing 120 or more points.

"We have a little more clarity on how we connect defense and offense and then everybody starts to get shots and the flow of the game is a lot better," he noted after Friday's win. "It all goes together in terms of making the right simple play. Then usually the ball will find the open guy. We have confidence in whoever that is."

--Field Level Media

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