The streaking Warriors go for their fourth straight home win when they meet the Timberwolves on Friday night in a matchup of Western Conference playoff hopefuls headed in opposite directions.
Despite its sub-.500 record, Golden State (30-36) is among the league’s best home teams with a 23-10 mark at Oracle Arena. The Warriors have won eight of their last 10 home contests, and four of five games overall.
The Timberwolves, meanwhile, have dropped eight of their last 11 and are suffering through their longest road skid since losing 14 straight last season. Minnesota (28-35) hasn’t won away from home since Jan. 27 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
It won’t get much easier for the Wolves in Oakland, where the Warriors are coming off their biggest win of the season. On Monday, Golden State earned a stunning 117-100 victory that snapped Dallas’ 17-game winning streak. The Mavericks came into the game with a 52-9 record.
The Warriors shot 57.1 percent from the floor—their third-highest mark of the season—while holding Dallas to 42.3 percent and building a 31-points fourth-quarter lead.
“It was a combination of everything,” said coach Don Nelson, who coached Dallas from 1997-2004. “It was just time. Seventeen is enough. We just happened to be the lucky guys.”
Lucky or not, the Warriors have put together an impressive run, pulling into a tie for eighth place in the West after a six-game losing streak seemed to derail their postseason hopes earlier this month. Monday’s win capped an eight-day stretch during which Golden State went 4-1, with wins over three teams that are currently in playoff position.
“This is a huge win for us,” said guard Baron Davis, who returned against the Mavs after a one-game absence due to stiffness in his left knee. “They’re coming in (with) a streak of 17 games in a row, and they were looking invincible. The fact that we came out and played at a high level really, really gave us a lot of confidence. … We’ll definitely be in the playoffs if we continue to play like this.”
Minnesota, however, is also hoping to grab the final playoff spot in the crowded West. Despite their 8-19 record since Jan. 16, the Wolves are just a half-game out of eighth.
Minnesota kept pace in the battle for that spot Tuesday with an 86-81 win over Indiana. Kevin Garnett had 30 points and nine rebounds as the Wolves overcame a 14-point third-quarter deficit and their second-worst shooting performance of the season.
“These are the games you talk about,” coach Randy Wittman said. “You win with your defense, you win with your effort, you hang in there even though you shoot only 38 percent. Hopefully this helps.”
The Wolves have won seven of their last 10 against Golden State, including the only matchup this season. Ricky Davis had 26 points to lead seven Wolves in double figures as Minnesota blew out the Warriors 121-93 on Feb. 7.
The teams close out their season series in Oakland on April 15.