By Huey Bergstrom
(MINNEAPOLIS) The Warriors lost a frustrating road game against the Timberwolves Thursday night, leaving their playoff hopes in a more precarious position than ever.
To be fair, Minnesota has been on a tear, the win Thursday night pushes their streak to four with two of them coming against the talented Utah Jazz.
Despite that, it still felt like the Warriors gave that game away rather than the Timberwolves willing themselves to victory. The Dubs came out of the gate weak and finished poorly, they were outscored by double digits in both the first and fourth quarters.
In many respects, it feels like this Warriors team lacks the urgency of previous seasons where every night they knew they had a target on their back.
Injuries to a core group of players like Thompson, Wiseman and Oubre Jr. notwithstanding, Thursday night's game was, at many points, brutal to watch. The effort wasn't there at all and the stats show it. The Warriors were out rebounded by an astonishing 23 boards and only scored eight points in transition. Extrapolating those a bit can tell us that their defense was subpar if not outright bad and thus they were unable to take advantage of any small ball mismatches.
Overall, the stats were somewhat similar with both teams shooting around the same percentage from three and putting up a similar number of assits and fouls. The issue was possessions. The Dubs had a massive gap in possessions compared to the Timberwolves because Minnesota absolutely destroyed Golden State on the boards.
Steph Curry, as he has been one to do this season, had himself a night with 37 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals but, with an injured Oubre Jr., Thompson and Wiseman, that wasn't enough. Even Wiggins' additional 27 points couldn't make up for the disparity in possesions and the lackluster effort on the boards.
To add insult to injury, Anthony Edwards and Ricky Rubio were hot all night, torching the Warriors for 25 and 26 points, respectively.
If the Dubs hope to make it to the playoffs, their defense and rebounding has to step up in games like this late in the season.