After Chris Paul’s injury, the Golden State Warriors (43-19) had themselves in prime position to cut the distance between them and the league-leading Phoenix Suns (49-12), who have dropped their last two games without their star point guard.
For the second game in a row, though, the Warriors shot themselves in the foot. Today’s 129-114 defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves was another example of their lackluster play, and Draymond Green’s continued absence from injury clearly makes it difficult for them to string together wins with their normally solid mix of offense and defense.
They had no answer for Karl-Anthony Towns, who torched them for 39 points and nine rebounds while shooting 14 of 22 from the field. The reigning three-point shootout champion also hit 3 of 6 of his shots from beyond the arc, along with the damage he did in the post. Towns was simply too big and too skilled for the Warriors to stop.
It didn’t even look like the Timberwolves really needed Anthony Edwards, who was unavailable for the game. Malik Beasley ended up dropping 20 points on the Warriors off the bench while shooting 7 of 11. It definitely didn’t help that Klay Thompson was missing for the second-straight game with an illness.
As we’ve seen too many times this season, the Warriors can sometimes rely far too much on Steph Curry, which was again the case. He finished with 34 points, five rebounds and four assists, but had a rough night from beyond the arc, where he went 5 of 16. No one else from the Warriors scored more than 15 points.
The back-to-back defeats are a stinger for the Warriors, because both games were winnable on paper. They could have cut Phoenix’s lead to 4.5 games, but instead still find themselves far from the first seed. Additionally, the losses have allowed the Memphis Grizzlies (43-20) to catch up, with Ja Morant’s MVP-worthy play helping them cut the distance to half a game.
The Warriors will next play the Mavericks, who they blew a 19-point fourth quarter lead against the other day while playing in San Francisco. This time around, they’ll be the away team. Their next few games don’t get much easier, either, as after the Mavericks they’ll face the Lakers, Nuggets (twice), Clippers, Bucks, Wizards and Celtics. They’ll be hoping that Klay Thompson comes back from his illness soon, because they need all the help they can get, and an additional floor spacer to take the pressure off Curry.