The Golden State Warriors wow fans with their offensive exploits, but they also do strong work on the other end of the floor. The Warriors, who led the NBA in defensive field-goal percentage en route to the championship last season, will try to follow up their best defensive performance of the 2017-18 campaign with another strong effort when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.
Golden State did not get off to the best start on the defensive end this season but is coming on of late and put everything together while holding the Miami heat to 36.1 percent shooting in a 97-80 victory on Monday. “I thought it was our best defensive effort of the year,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. “It was tremendous. We forced 23 turnovers, we were attentive on our switching. ... I thought we made really good decisions out there.” The Timberwolves should pose a challenge to that defense after averaging 114.4 points during a five-game winning streak. Minnesota boasts five scorers averaging double figures, led by Karl-Anthony Towns’ 21.8 points, and is enjoying the franchise’s first five-game winning streak since 2009.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS North (Minnesota), NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE TIMBERWOLVES (7-3): Minnesota brought in veterans Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague over the summer to supplement a solid young corps, and they believe the team is only scratching the surface. “This is still a work in progress,” Teague told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We’re still trying to figure out each other. It can be a lot better. We all know that. We’re starting to get into a groove here. But we have miles to go to be the team we want to be.” Teague recorded 18 points and 12 assists in a 112-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday to continue his own groove with a fourth double-double in five games.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (8-3): Golden State leads the NBA in scoring average (118.5 points) and assists (30.5) but suffered through a rare off shooting night while connecting at 36.8 percent in Monday’s win. That slump did not extend to forward Draymond Green, who scored 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting and is 23-of-34 from the floor during a four-game winning streak. The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year averaged 7.1 points on 36.4 percent shooting in the first seven games but scored at least 15 points in each of the last four contests.
1. Warriors SF Kevin Durant recorded three blocks on Monday — his eighth game this season with multiple blocked shots.
2. Timberwolves C Gorgui Dieng recorded his first double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds in 19 minutes on Sunday.
3. Golden State took three of the four meetings last season, with the lone loss coming at Minnesota on March 10.
PREDICTION: Warriors 126, Timberwolves 111