The Golden State Warriors were slumping heading into the All-Star break, in fact they had rattled off a season-high six-straight losses. Unfortunately, they've turned things around lately and grabbed two consecutive wins to snap their losing streak.
Golden State lost six-straight games to Houston, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Dallas, Houston again and Utah. They got back on track with a win over Phoenix and got a statement win Friday night when they defeated the Spurs in overtime.
These two teams have met twice before. The first game came on November 16th at the Target Center. I was at that game and although it was still fun to watch, the Warriors had little trouble taking down a team that didn't have Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic or J.J. Barea. The next meeting came less than two weeks later at Oracle Arena. The result was a 85-96 win.
This is the second to last meeting as they'll face each other once more (April 9th) at Oracle Arena. The Wolves will be looking to grab their first win in the series this season. The Warriors have won four-straight games over the Wolves, the last three at the Target Center and 9 of their last 11 visits to Minnesota.
That could end Sunday afternoon as the Warriors have struggled to win on the road as of late. Golden State has lost five-straight road games and will look to snap that today. If they lose to the Wolves today, it will be a fifth consecutive season in which they've had a six-game (or more) losing streak. During this road skid, the Warriors are allowing opponents to score 117.8 a game at a 49.4% clip. However, in the last four meetings between these two teams (all Warrior wins) the Wolves have scored an average of 91.3 points a game on 40.1% shooting.
The TWolves are currently 20-32 on the season as they're simply looking to remain a competitive squad over the last couple months of the season. The key is to look to win and not look to continue to coast while we wait for Chase Budinger & Kevin Love to come back. Both are on track to return sometime in March (likely Chase, first). The Wolves also play on without Brandon Roy (knees) & Malcolm Lee (knee/hip).
The Warriors have had a few injury struggles of their own. Early in the season, Brandon Rush tore his ACL. He underwent successful surgery and should return in 2013-14. Andrew Bogut has missed a lot of games thanks to an ankle injury. He's inactive once again, but it's now because of a back injury. He was held out of Friday's win over the Spurs and the official Injury Report has him "ruled out indefinitely". I assume that means he won't be playing Sunday afternoon.
In the Warriors last game (Friday) they debuted their new jerseys. Which you can see pictured to the right. It's an awful bright yellow color and as you can see they do have sleeves. That (in my opinion) isn't even the worst part, I hate the fact that they have these solid yellow tops, with pinstripe bottoms. As if Stephen Curry didn't look like he was a 10-year old already, his outfit makes it look like something his mother picked out and forced him to wear. I have serious doubts that these will ever catch on. Basically I pray they don't! They will wear these twice more this season, but fortunately they won't today!
Let's take a look at today's probable starting lineups...
As I said before, Bogut (7.1P, 5R, 2.3A, 1.6B) is dealing with a back injury and (as far as I know) isn't expected to play. Obviously, his presence down low would've helped the Warriors dearly as now they'll have to rely on Andris Biedrens & rookie Festus Ezeli to guard Nikola Pekovic. Pekovic had a very off-night in OKC on Friday in which he played just 22 minutes and scored just 5 points. I expect a big bounce back performance, especially if he's matched up against Biedrens.
The big concern will, of course be containing Stephen Curry & Klay Thompson. Curry was a big key to those November Warrior wins. Both of those games, the Wolves play without their best perimeter defending guard: Ricky Rubio. While I still expect Curry to get his shots and his points it won't be coming as easy. The concern of course remains with the matchup of Klay Thompson & Luke Ridnour. I have a feeling they'll look to exploit that early and often. I pray that if Klay goes off for numerous buckets in the first as he simply overpowers the bigger Ridnour, that Adelman won't hesitate to make a change to either Shved or Gelabale.
If the Wolves want a chance to win this one they'll need better performances from Nikola Pekovic & Derrick Williams. In that last game vs. OKC, DWill & Pek combined for 14pts on 4-of-18 shooting, 0-for-2 from deep and 6-of-7 from the line. They also added 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Pek played 22, while Derrick played 23 minutes. That simply won't get it done, they need more from those two!
Tipoff for this one is a very early 2:30pmCT! Enjoy the game and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!