OAKLAND – In winning their fourth consecutive game Monday night, the Warriors never trailed against the Timberwolves. Yet the game had enough competition to keep those at Oracle Arena on the edge of their seats.
This one required the Warriors, in their first home game after a 11-day road trip, to sprinkle some grit on their beauty.
Here are some positives and negatives:
No stopping Mr. Curry
Stephen Curry's fantastic run, which began in the second half of a Dec. 1 loss at Detroit, shows no sign of abating. He scored a game-high 38 points, which included 7-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc. Though he added seven rebounds, six assists and two steals, his scoring continues to be the highlight. In the five games since his return from injury, Curry is shooting an astounding 51.8 percent from deep.
Curry took one look at Minnesota point guard Jeff Teague trying to D him up and smiled inside. Had to. If not, he should have.
No stopping Mr. Towns
There is no question Damian Jones was struggling on defense before he sustained a likely season-ending injury. Still, his length might have helped slow Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns. Instead, Towns saddled Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell with early fouls and ended up with 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting. The 7-footer did whatever he wanted. The Warriors were fortunate he didn't get more opportunities.
They're also fortunate another big body, DeMarcus Cousins, is almost ready to play.
He's back, with a vengeance
Draymond Green, his big toe aching, had not played in 23 days. All he could do was seethe and try to stay calm. When he finally took the floor, he was a man unleashed, grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds, dishing a team-high seven assists and playing his typical Tasmanian Devil defense all over the court. He played 29 spirited minutes, leading the team with a plus/minus of +11.
Green energized the team and the building. That's how you earn a standing ovation while only scoring 7 points.
Iguodala a late scratch
Andre Iguodala seemed fine after shootaround Thursday morning. Shortly before tipoff, the veteran forward was declared not fine. He missed the game with what the Warriors described as "right hip tightness." Alfonzo McKinnie and Shaun Livingston combined for 40 mostly effective minutes to fill the void.
The Warriors say Iguodala's absence was for precautionary reasons and he should be back on Wednesday. Given his value, they should hope so.
The third-quarter lockdown
The Warriors may never lose their reputation as a fun-loving, deep-shooting band of NBA marauders. They don't mind, particularly if it means their defense is being overlooked. The latest example is their third-quarter performance, forcing six Timberwolves turnovers (off which the Dubs scored 11 points) and limiting them to 4-of-18 shooting.
By going up as much as 16 points in the period, the Warriors opened up a lead that never was seriously threatened.