Golden State is rounding into playoff form as the regular season winds down and the Warriors remain in a battle with the Denver Nuggets for the top spot in the Western Conference
Minnesota, losers of three straight, can't wait for a disastrous season that began with so much hope and promise to come to an end.
While not officially eliminated, the Timberwolves are playing out the string at eight and a half games behind the eighth-place Los Angeles Clippers and they have less than a 1 percent chance of joining the Warriors in the postseason.
The Warriors and Timberwolves meet for the third time this season, and for the first time at Minnesota, on Tuesday. Golden State won both of the earlier games.
Golden State will be playing the final game of a four-game road trip. The Warriors are 2-1 after losing on Monday night to the hottest team in the league -- San Antonio, which now has won nine straight.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson had off nights, going a combined 14-for-43 from the field. Denver beat Boston on Monday and now the Nuggets and Warriors have identical 47-22 records.
On Nov. 2, the Warriors pulled away late going 13-for-22 from the field and beating the Timberwolves by 17.
Minnesota trailed by only four heading into the fourth quarter and in a blink of an eye they were down by 15.
"It's our job to make it as hard as possible to hit shots like that," Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns told reporters after that game. "We did a good job making it difficult on them the whole night, it's just that when they start hitting shots, we just stopped."
Rookie Josh Okogie has been a bright spot in the Timberwolves' turbulent season despite averaging only 7.3 points per game and he was struggling mightily before Sunday's loss against Houston. He admitted the rigors of the long season might be catching up with him.
"I always tell people I've played more games in the NBA now than I've played my whole college tenure," Okogie told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. "It's definitely hard but it's what I signed up for and I'm grateful."
Known more for being a dogged defender, the Georgia Tech product is coming off his best offensive game, scoring 21 points against the Rockets.
He guarded James Harden and held the league's leading scorer to just 20 points, nearly 16 points below his average.
"He had a great game," Tyus Jones said. "It's all a process and a grind of a season and that's the good thing about having so many games is you get a chance to bounce back and turn things around quickly."
Okogie, no doubt will have the unenviable task of trying to stop, or slow down, Curry.
In a Dec. 10 loss to the Warriors, the Timberwolves were unable to stop Curry, who scored 38 points. Or Klay Thompson, who scored 26. Or Kevin Durant, who scored 22.
Minnesota is very good at home, compiling a 23-10 record, but the Timberwolves face an uphill battle in trying to stop Curry and Thompson. Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose remain injured and their status for Tuesday's game is in limbo.
Copyright © 2019
TTWN Media Networks LLC