If they had to lose once on this rugged four-game journey through the central time zone, the Warriors would have chosen defeat in San Antonio, as falling to the Spurs has a way of forcing a team to recalibrate.
So the Warriors were a determined bunch when they left Texas late Monday night for the 1,200-mile flight to Minneapolis, where they faced the Timberwolves on Tuesday night. They got their win, which made for a satisfying ride home, arriving in the Bay Area early Wednesday.
Here is a look at some of the positives and negatives gleaned from a back-to-back set with travel that is as challenging as any on the NBA schedule:
Splash Brothers bounce back
Though Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson don't often stink it up – by their standards – simultaneously, they did in San Antonio. They combined for 39 points, shooting 14-of-43 from the field, including 10-of-27 from beyond the arc. It's tough for the Warriors to win like that, particularly when both are getting as many or more shots than Kevin Durant (9-of-18).
Curry and Thompson made amends Tuesday, driving the offense in the win at Minnesota. They combined for 64 points on 23-of-42 shooting, including 12-of-24 from deep.
Facing a weak Timberwolves defense, was this predictable? Perhaps. But it still had to happen. Curry and Thompson made sure it did.
The seed gets slippery
The Warriors definitely would like to earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, if not overall. The win Saturday at Oklahoma City tightened their grip while also smashing a potential playoff opponent.
But the loss to the Spurs, combined with Denver's win at Boston, left the Warriors and Nuggets tied at the top of the West. That was the penalty the defending champs paid for that rare night when neither Curry nor Thompson found any shooting rhythm.
The top seed remains very much in play. With the Nuggets showing no sign of a fading, the Warriors must assume that the only breathing room they can expect is that which they create.
An old, new, old friend returns
Andrew Bogut arrived in the Bay Area over the weekend expecting to play Thursday against the Pacers at Oracle Arena. He'd have time to recover from a 14-hour flight from Australia, settle in with his family, complete conditioning tests and then reunite with his former team.
That plan was moved up three days when DeMarcus Cousins got hurt Saturday in Oklahoma City. Bogut flew to San Antonio and played solid 19 minutes against the Spurs before struggling – as was expected – through 13 minutes against the Timberwolves.
Bogut showed he can handle 10-15 minutes in certain games (against larger, physical big men) but on might not leave the bench others. He brings a good presence to the mix. He will help.
A welcome blast from the past
Jonas Jerebko has been missing for much of the past three months, playing sparingly and almost never making an impact. He didn't come off the bench for a single second in San Antonio.
He came off it with a vengeance in Minneapolis, pouring in 14 points during a nine-minute run in the second quarter. He drilled his first 3-point shot, then another and another. Such nuclear production is more typical of Curry, Durant, and Thompson – not the guy who rarely plays. Jerebko finished with 18 points in 18 minutes.
Jerebko early in the season often provided a lift with his shooting. Then there was, well, not much. As the team's only identifiable stretch-4, he has a role. If his shot is falling, that role can be pivotal.