The Golden State Warriors’ most recent homestand included a 33-point loss to the Boston Celtics and a startling defeat to the last-placed Phoenix Suns, reminding the Warriors of the work that is ahead of them to win a fourth NBA championship in five years.
The Warriors passed their first challenge with a 3-1 record on this tough road trip, finishing in Minnesota with a clinic in half-court passing and shooting.
Stephen Curry on Tuesday scored 22 of his 36 points in the third quarter and Klay Thompson pitched in with 28 points, giving the Warriors more than enough production to beat the fading Minnesota Timberwolves 117-107 and regain first place in the Western Conference.
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“If we can do that the rest of the way to the playoffs, we will definitely solidify this No. 1 seed,” Thompson said.
The Warriors had 39 assists on 44 made field goals and finished 19 for 42 from three-point range. They have won 20 of their past 25 games away from home.
“Some possessions, it was a lot of overpassing, to be honest,” Curry said, “But against teams that try to put pressure on you and take away that first option, that’s the best way for us to really attack.”
Jonas Jerebko added 18 points, as Kevin Durant scored 17 points and Draymond Green had 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Warriors (48-22), who bounced back with little rest from a loss at the San Antonio Spurs on Monday and moved a half-game ahead of the idle Denver Nuggets (47-22) for the top seed.
To start the trip, the Warriors beat the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder, in the third and sixth spots respectively in the stacked conference race. Falling at home to Phoenix clearly captured their attention.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 21 rebounds for the Timberwolves, while Josh Okogie had 19 points and Andrew Wiggins put up 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists. They played again without the injured Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose, Robert Covington and Luol Deng — and lost their fourth straight game.
“When you’re going against the world champions, you have to really be on your game offensively and defensively,” ’Wolves coach Ryan Saunders said.
In Tuesday’s other games, it was:
‧ Nets 123, Kings 121
‧ Rockets 121, Hawks 105
‧ Bucks 115, Lakers 101
‧ 76ers 118, Hornets 114
‧ Clippers 115, Pacers 109
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