Thompson leads Warriors past Timberwolves
The Sports Xchange
MINNEAPOLIS -- The NBA season's second week and Golden State's fifth outing is a little early to be talking about statement games, but Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson considered Wednesday's 106-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves something of one anyway.
While blossoming Warriors superstar Steph Curry waited injured in the team's Target Center dressing room during the final quarter, Thompson simply went out and scored 19 of his 30 points in the quarter.
"Just shows we're not all about Steph," Thompson said. "Steph's one of the best players in the NBA, but sometimes people think we rely on him too much. It's not fair to him. We're a deep team this year. We showed when one of our best guys go down, we're going to do it collectively and do it unselfishly.
"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."
The Warriors are 4-1, and all four victories have been by double digits.
On Wednesday, they did so with second-year forward Harrison Barnes making his season debut. He returned from a season-opening toe injury to inspire a second unit that transformed the game in the second quarter after the Wolves had taken an 18-10 lead in the first.
Thompson responded to coach Mark Jackson's halftime challenge after the third-year guard made just 2 of 9 shots and scored four points in the first half. He scored 26 after halftime, including five 3-pointers and those 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Warriors pushed a three-point halftime lead to as many as 18 points.
"It's just a matter of time for that," Jackson said about Thompson's breakout fourth quarter. "I didn't think he played particularly well in the first half and it had nothing to do with his shooting. I challenged him at halftime. He's one of those guys you say, 'No, no, no ... yes, yes, yes.' He's an incredible shooter. I thought he had a spectacular second half."
Thompson said Jackson challenged him by telling him to "wake up" and by saying the player he saw in the first half was "not the player he knows."
So Thompson stepped forth right when Curry left the game late in the third quarter. Curry sprained his right knee during a tangle with Wolves guard Ricky Rubio earlier in the third and then injured his left ankle and bruised his left foot.
"Not one of my most enjoyable quarters," Curry said. "I wasn't going to force it. That's why we're so deep. I'm back in the locker room, J.O. (forward/center Jermaine O'Neal) is back in the locker room and we go on a huge run."
Curry saw very little of the fourth quarter from the locker room.
"I heard Klay went bananas," Curry said.
Thompson made everything in the second half that Curry missed before getting injured. Curry missed all three 3-point attempts and went 2-for-8 from the field for five points.
"I'm really blessed and fortunate to coach those guys, the way they shoot the basketball," Jackson said.
The Wolves are 3-2 after delivering the franchise's first 3-0 start in 12 seasons.
"It's early and I just told them, 'Sometimes you have success early in the season and you think you have arrived,'" Wolves coach Rick Adelman said. "It almost gives you a false sense of security because you've won some games. Now we are playing some good teams and we are finding out about ourselves. We weren't ready to play this team. They were a lot better than we were."
NOTES: Warriors second-year F Harrison Barnes made his season debut after missing the first four games because of an inflamed toe. He practiced with the team Tuesday in Philadelphia and made his debut after coach Mark Jackson called him a game-time decision before Wednesday's game. ... Wolves F Corey Brewer faced a Golden State team that changed his career course last summer. The Warriors upset Brewer's 57-win Denver team in last spring's playoffs first round, setting in motion events that brought a new GM and coach to the Nuggets and caused Brewer to sign with the Timberwolves and Andre Iguodala with the Warriors. "I had no idea," Brewer said. "Kind of crazy, but I think it worked OK for everybody." ... The Warriors can score with anybody, but Jackson is thinking bigger than that and he reiterated before Wednesday's game that only defense will take his team where it wants to go. "You can rave about the other things," he said, "but those are not the things that are going to put us in position to play to the point we want to play this year, as far as playoff basketball."