Having rebounded from an ugly opener to their five-game road trip, the Golden State Warriors hope to take advantage of a last-place team for the second straight game when they meet the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Warriors (14-11), who have alternated wins and losses over the last seven games, opened the trip with a 109-87 defeat at Detroit. It was their second-lowest point total of the season and third-most lopsided loss.
However, Golden State bounced back the following night for a 125-117 victory over Memphis, which is in the Southwest Division basement.
“This is the NBA. You’re going to have nights like this,” said Warriors guard Monta Ellis, who scored 23 points against the Grizzlies after being held to eight the previous night. “You’re either going to come back the next night or you’ll come back and get the same results as you got at Detroit, but you have to put that game behind you and come back and focus on this one.”
Golden State, which went 4-1 during a five-game road swing from Nov. 18-24, now looks to knock off a Minnesota team which is at the bottom of the Northwest Division with a league-worst 3-20 record. This trip also includes a stop in New Jersey on Saturday before ending the next night at Cleveland.
The Warriors could use another stellar performance from Stephen Jackson. The swingman had 28 points and 12 rebounds against the Grizzlies after only getting 13 points and one board against the Pistons.
His production appears to have been a major factor in the Warriors’ recent results. Over the last seven games, Jackson is averaging 24.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in four wins, compared to 13.3 and 3.3, respectively, in three defeats.
He was held to eight points and three rebounds in the last meeting between these clubs, but the Warriors beat the Timberwolves 121-108.
Golden State won two of three meetings last season, has lost four straight in Minnesota since a 99-93 victory on March 2, 2005.
The Warriors hope their up-tempo offense, which ranks them among the league leaders in scoring at 108.8 points per game, can help them take advantage of a Timberwolves team that allows 100.6 points per contest.
Golden State gives up a league-high average of 107.4 points, but Minnesota ranks toward the bottom of the league in scoring at 92.5 per game.
The Timberwolves are mired in their fourth five-game losing streak of the season. They have yet to lose six in a row, having stopped their last slide with a surprising 100-93 win over Phoenix on Dec. 8.
Minnesota shot a season-low 38.4 percent from the field in a 91-87 loss at Miami on Monday.
Timberwolves leading scorer Al Jefferson had 22 points and 20 rebounds on Monday for his fourth consecutive double-double. He’s averaged 22.3 points and 15.5 rebounds in that span.