San Francisco – The Warriors squandered their lead in the final seconds. Karl-Anthony Towns knocked down a 3-point shot on Draymond Green’s bad pass. Jordan Poole followed with another bad pass that led to the Minnesota Timberwolves 99-96 win over Golden State.
The Warriors snapped their 9-game winning streak at home and lost an opportunity to secure another win in this tight Western Conference race to the playoffs. Stephen Curry who finished with 20 points and 9 assists, could not drop a 3-point shot to tie the game after a few costly mistakes from his teammates.
“I just thought the final two minutes, we didn’t execute,” said Steve Kerr. “I thought we had a chance at a layup in transition with about two minutes left. I think we had another possession where we turned it over. We just didn’t execute down the stretch. So that was just one of many. So we didn’t deserve to win. They outplayed us. They made the plays down the stretch that they needed to make and we didn’t, so simple as that.”
The final seconds was just sloppy basketball, Green’s pass was stolen by Kyle Anderson that led to Towns 3-point shot. In his first game back, Towns finished with 14 points but made a crucial 3 to put the Wolves back in the lead. Poole’s out of bounds pass led to another turnover which put Jaden McDaniels on the line. But Curry missed a chance to tie the game.
“Got off to a rough start I think with three-straight turnovers first three possessions, so kind of set the tone,” Curry said. “Fought back, Klay (Thompson) hit a big shot, had a couple momentum plays that could have went either way. I missed the layup in transition with three-on-one. Obviously, the last play led to KAT’s three. It was highly competitive. It was kind of a grind it out type of vibe. It just didn’t go our way.”
Gary Payton II returned to action tonight for the first time this season. When he checked in late in the second quarter, Payton received a standing ovation. He played a total of 15 minutes and finished with 9 points, two rebounds and one assist.
“It was great having Gary back,” said Klay Thompson. “I was really happy with the ovation he got because he earned it. He was a huge part of what we did last year and why we were the champs and I know he will be again this year because he’s such a great player. He’s so good around the rim, he’s so good on defense and he’s just going to be a huge asset for us going forward.”
“It felt like I was out there shorter than I was, but 16 minutes,” Payton said. “It felt good though. There were a lot of gaps in there, I was able to get my breath back after whistles and calls.”
Gary Payton returns for Sunday’s action against the TWolves
San Francisco – Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Gary Paton II was a go for today’s game against the Minnesota Timberwoles. The team has been patiently awaiting his return since his trade earlier this year.
ON THE STATUS OF GARY PAYTON II:
“Gary is good to go. We’re excited to get him back. We’ll plug him in and it’s been a while since he’s played, so we’ll see how he looks and see how he feels and go from there.”
ON HOW HE ADDRESSES THE TEAM ABOUT POSSIBLE MINUTES AND ROTATION CHANGES:
“I say it. I say it out loud to the group. I think the one thing every player wants is clarity and honestly. Having been a player before, everything is much easier when you know what the coach is thinking. I always try to share with our guys what we are looking to do and with Gary coming back it means that some minutes will obviously be taken away from other guys, but it’s hard to tell really who those minutes will come from, because a lot will depend on what combinations are working. This is a different team from last year in a lot of ways. There are a handful of guys who Gary hasn’t played with before, so there is still a little bit of experimentation ahead.”
ON THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A VETERAN TEAM IN THE FINAL WEEKS OF THE SEASON:
“It’s everything. These guys have played in so many high stakes games. They’ve been in every situation including this one. A couple of years ago when we finished eighth and we were in the Play-In Tournament and lost both games. All of that experience adds up and is helpful. Our core players are our leaders. The guys that have been around for a long time and they are able to share that wisdom with their teammates and it gives our team a good foundation of leadership going down this stretch.”
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