MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Stephen Curry overcame a rare off night from long range to post 21 points and seven assists and help the Golden State Warriors to their 13th consecutive win with a 102-86 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Curry missed six of his seven 3-point attempts, but the top-ranked Warriors’ defense forced the short-handed Timberwolves to shoot 36 percent and turn the ball over 19 times to improve to an NBA-best 18-2. Klay Thompson added 21 points and the Warriors left holding their breath after Andrew Bogut left with a knee injury early in the first quarter.
The Warriors called it “right knee irritation” and deemed his return to the game questionable, but he watched the rest from the bench.
Andrew Wiggins had 21 points and six rebounds for the Timberwolves, who are playing without three starters and have lost six in a row. Thaddeus Young added 13 points and seven rebounds for Minnesota.
Bogut left the game after just three minutes. He was laboring up and down the court and went back to the locker room with the team’s athletic trainers to get checked out.
Minor or not, every time Bogut leaves the game with an injury is cause for concern for the Warriors. He is the linchpin of their stifling defense, an eraser on the back end that allows Curry, Thompson and Iguodala to aggressively pressure on the perimeter. His career has been derailed time and again by injuries ever since he was drafted in 2005, including last year when fractured ribs kept him from playing in the first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bogut has played in all 20 games for the Warriors this season, but played just 111 of a possible 246 regular season games in the previous three years.
Perhaps looking past a short-handed Timberwolves team at the bottom of the Western Conference with a tough six-game stretch of conference opponents coming up, the Warriors gave the Wolves every opportunity to stay in the game in the first half. They shot 38 percent, committed 10 of their 17 turnovers and Curry went 0 for 4 from 3-point range.
In the rare instances where the shots aren’t falling for the Warriors, it’s incumbent upon the opponent to take advantage, build a double-digit lead and try to hang on for dear life when the nets start splashing. But the young Wolves are ill-equipped to do that with point guards Ricky Rubio and Mo Williams, center Nikola Pekovic and shooting guard Kevin Martin all out with injuries.
The Wolves shot just 35.6 percent in the first half and turned it over 13 times to go into the locker room trailing by nine.
Curry missed his first five 3s, but hit one during a 13-0 run in the third quarter that put the game on ice.
Warriors: Shaun Livingston had 12 points and Marreese Speights had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench. … Curry is now 2 for 12 from 3 in his last two games and went 1 for 10 from long distance on Nov. 28 against Charlotte.
Timberwolves: Corey Brewer had five steals in the first half. … Shabazz Muhammad scored 14 points in 19 minutes after being listed as questionable with a sprained left ankle. … Zach LaVine had a rough game with nine points, eight assists, six turnovers and a missed dunk in the first half.
Warriors: Host Houston on Wednesday.
Timberwolves: Host Portland on Wednesday.
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