MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Golden State Warriors held their breath when they watched star guard Stephen Curry walk gingerly off the court in the third quarter. Then Klay Thompson put his foot on the gas.
Thompson scored 19 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and Harrison Barnes scored 14 points in his season debut to help the Golden State Warriors to a 106-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.
“It just shows that we’re not all about Steph,” said Thompson, who hit five 3-pointers in the final quarter. “Steph’s one of the best players in the NBA, but sometimes people think we rely on him too much. And it’s not fair to him and we’re a deep team this year.”
David Lee had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Andre Iguodala scored 20 points for the Warriors (4-1), who entered this season brimming with confidence following last year’s run to the second round of the playoffs.
“We showed that one of our best guys goes down, we’re going to do it collectively and as a team, and play unselfish,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to replace what he does. You really can’t do it, but we try to do our best and we did a good job of it tonight.”
Curry had just five points on 2-for-8 shooting with seven assists in 24 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter with a bruised left foot and a sore right knee. He said he would “probably” play on Friday.
“Just a tough, unfortunate injury, but I’ve got guys I believe in and our versatility showed,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “Andre showed how important he is, comfortable at moving over, handling the basketball and facilitating our offense. Hopefully Steph will be fine and we continue to march on.”
Kevin Love had 25 points, 16 rebounds and six assists for the Timberwolves, who have lost two straight after a 3-0 start. Kevin Martin added 23 points, but the Wolves’ bench was outscored 27-10. The Wolves shot 37.8 percent and turned the ball over 19 times in a humbling loss.
The Wolves are hoping to use the Warriors’ surprising run last season as a model to end their nine-year playoff drought this year. But they found out that they have a long way to go to compete with a team that is quickly asserting itself as one of the best in the West.
The Warriors shot 50 percent, outrebounded the Wolves 49-40 and held Minnesota to just 10 points off 21 Golden State turnovers.
“We’re a better team than that defensively,” Love said. “There were a lot of times where, I was guilty of it too, but I was throwing my hands up and was like, ‘Where is the weakside help.'”
When Thompson found the mark, Curry wasn’t needed.
Thompson was 2 for 9 in the first half, but hit his first seven shots of the second half to help the Warriors pull away. With backup shooting gua1rd Alexey Shved off to a terrible start, Wolves coach Rick Adelman had no choice but to try 5-foot-11 J.J. Barea on the 6-7 Thompson.
Predictably, Thompson just rose right up and shot over the little guy, drilling 3 after 3 in the second half. He scored 11 straight points for the Warriors in the fourth quarter, the last a soft jumper for a 94-80 lead, and the Warriors never looked back.
Barnes missed the first four games with left toe inflammation. He was a game-time decision, but he entered the game with just over 5 minutes to go in the first quarter and made an immediate impact. He hit two quick jumpers and scored on a pretty reverse layup to ignite the uncharacteristically sluggish Warriors offense, and the second unit chewed the Wolves bench up to start the second quarter.
“The whole thing changed,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said of the second unit. “We have to find a way to keep things going and be more productive and that just didn’t happen.”
NOTES: Rubio had another rough night. He had seven points on 2-for-8 shooting with seven assists and four turnovers. … Curry, a career 90 percent free throw shooter, missed one in the second quarter. He missed 29 last season. … Barnes had a vocal cheering section behind one basket. He grew up in Ames, Iowa, about a 3-hour drive from the Twin Cities.
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