Looking for a sixth consecutive win in the series, the Warriors hope to begin a season-high seven-game road trip by handing the Timberwolves a season-worst eighth consecutive defeat Sunday.
Golden State (26-31), which has won five straight against Minnesota and six of seven at the Target Center, entered the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak and a 7-2 run.
In two games since, though, the Warriors have been outscored by an average of 19.0 points while shooting 38.2 percent from the floor.
Monta Ellis(notes) ranks among the league’s top 10 in scoring with 25.0 points per game, but recorded 15 in a 115-93 loss to Boston on Tuesday night and was held to 16 in a 95-79 defeat Friday night at the hands of Atlanta. Ellis is shooting 33.3 percent over that stretch.
“We didn’t have the kind of energy to play against a team that was going to be energetic, lost a couple of games and was desperate,” coach Keith Smart said Friday. “We just have to find our rhythm coming back from the break.”
Despite its lackluster play of late, Golden State remains within striking distance of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Stephen Curry(notes) knows that the upcoming road trip, which features five stops against teams with losing records, will go a long way in determining the team’s fate.
“We need to just get a win and start feeling good about ourselves,” said Curry, who’s averaging 9.7 points - 8.5 fewer than his season mark - in his last three games. “We have to dig deep on this road trip. Seven games to stay in this race, we still have a huge hole to get out of after these last two games.”
Ellis has averaged 25.3 points on 54.2 percent shooting in his last eight meetings with the Timberwolves - including 60 total points in two wins this season - while Curry has averaged 23.5 in his last two in the series.
The Timberwolves (13-46) matched their lowest scoring output of the season Friday night and fell for the seventh consecutive time, losing 95-81 to New Orleans.
“I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t get numbed to losing,” said point guard Luke Ridnour(notes). “It’s something that’s irritating and annoying. We play this game to win games, and it’s not something that I believe you can get numbed to.”
Minnesota is averaging 89.6 points on 38.3 percent shooting over its season-high-tying skid, but will likely need to come out with a better effort offensively if it hopes to keep up with Golden State, which is scoring 102.4 points per game. The Timberwolves are 3-39 when allowing at least 100 points.
Kevin Love(notes) barely recorded his 45th consecutive double-double with 11 points and 14 rebounds versus the Hornets, passing Moses Malone for the second-longest streak since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.
Love is averaging 18.7 points and 14.7 rebounds in his last seven meetings with Golden State and could inch closer to Malone’s 51-game double-double run from Dec. 29, 1978-Oct. 12, 1979.