Going into the team’s two preseason games against the Warriors, the Wolves talked about how good of a measuring stick it would be for them as a team to go up against the defending champions and winners of two of the last three titles.
Apparently, the Wolves measure up pretty well as they beat the Warriors 111-97 in Shenzhen on Thursday morning.
“I thought the second half we played better,” Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “We moved the ball better, made better plays. Once we got our ball movement (going) our shot selection was a lot better. And the Warriors are tough to guard.”
Like their first preseason win against the Lakers, it was a balanced attack. Seven Wolves hit double digits. Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 16 points each. Andrew Wiggins added 14, Taj Gibson scored 13 and Nemanja Bjelica scored 11. Shabazz Muhammad and Tyus Jones added 10 points each off the bench. Jones also dished out six assists in the game.
All five starters, Teague, Wiggins, Butler, Gibson and Towns, played 27 minutes or less in the game.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 20 points. Steph Curry added 14 points, while Klay Thompson scored 13. Zaza Pachulia rounded things out with 10 points.
After somewhat of a slow start, the Wolves bounced back on both ends, but mainly defensively, to Thibodeau’s liking. The Wolves forced 19 turnovers in the game, swapping six steals to Golden State’s three.
The Wolves continue to put together what they think their team will look like with just one preseason game remaining.
“That’s our challenge. Obviously with the shortened preseason, we’re only playing three games. . . The challenge for us is how quickly we can get on the same page.”
- The Wolves were 25-for-29 from the free-throw line while Golden State struggled, shooting just 13-for-25 from the charity stripe.
- Minnesota also was more efficient from the 3-point line, making 12 of 26 attempts. Golden State, obviously known for 3-pointers, shot 8-for-28.
- The bench for Minnesota outscored Golden State’s 44-35.
Leader of the Pack: Jimmy Butler
It was another balanced attack for the Wolves, but the three-time All-Star stood out for Minnesota. Butler finished with 16 points while shooting 4-for-6 from the field and 8-for-9 from the free-throw line.
He also added five rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Highlight of the Night:
With 1:32 left in the second quarter, Wiggins burst by Durant and put down a baseline dunk to put the Wolves within seven points.
The Wolves traveled to Shanghai after Thursday’s game. They’ll face off against the Warriors on Sunday at 6 a.m. CT. The game will air on NBA TV.