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sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): ‘Non-Steph minutes' bite Warriors once again vs. Timberwolves

o NBCSBA (Poole): ‘Non-Steph minutes' bite Warriors once again vs. TimberwolvesRobin Miller

NBCSBA (Poole): ‘Non-Steph minutes' bite Warriors once again vs. Timberwolves


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From: robin.mi...@invalid.invalid (Robin Miller)
Subject: NBCSBA_(Poole):_‘Non-Steph_minutes'_bite_Warr
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2024 15:15:20 -0400
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 by: Robin Miller - Mon, 25 Mar 2024 19:15 UTC

‘Non-Steph minutes' bite Warriors once again vs. Timberwolves

By Monte Poole

• Published March 24, 2024

With 12 games remaining to chase their goals, the only mollification the
Warriors have is that they won’t see a better team than the one that
came from behind to take their money on Sunday.

And the Minnesota Timberwolves didn’t turn bully until the Warriors were
in their most vulnerable position this season and, to be fair, one they
have faced since 2019.

Whenever Stephen Curry is off the floor.

With Curry sitting to begin the fourth quarter, the Timberwolves needed
only 47 seconds to grab their first lead since the opening minutes. They
never again trailed, shoving the Warriors to a 114-110 loss in
Minneapolis that pushes them perilously close to falling from NBA
play-in tournament position.

Curry played precisely 29 minutes, 51 seconds. Fewer than Draymond
Green, Jonathan Kuminga or Klay Thompson, and only 86 seconds more than
rookie backup center Trayce Jackson-Davis.

“We’re trying to keep him around 30,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at
Target Center in Minneapolis. “Trying to get him as much rest as we can.
We've played a lot of minutes, played him 35 two days ago. So, long as
we were hanging in there, we wanted to limit the minutes a little bit –
not limit them but not overplay him.”

When Minnesota opened the fourth quarter with a 12-5 run to take a
four-point lead with 8:56 remaining, Kerr called a timeout. It appeared
that might be the time he would summon Curry as a response.


“We’ve got Chris Paul out there,” Kerr said. “We’ve got Klay. We’ve got
Draymond. We’ve got great players out there. We can’t expect to just
ride Steph game after game after game.”

Curry sat for another two minutes and two seconds, during which Golden
State’s deficit increased from four to eight points.

“If you want to say that him playing 30 minutes instead of 32 is a
difference in the win and a loss, I totally disagree with that,” Kerr
said in defense of his decision. “We're trying to we're trying to win
the game. We're trying to keep him fresh, too.”

This was a game in which two minutes in the fourth quarter mattered. The
difference in being down eight with less than seven minutes remaining
against the NBA’s No. 1 defense was four points – enough for Minnesota
to completely seize momentum.

Curry finished with a game-high 31 points on 9-of-21 shooting from the
field, including 5 of 11 from beyond the arc. Five other Warriors scored
in double digits, led by 16 points from Thompson.

But Curry, the franchise superstar, seemed open to playing more. He
expressed surprise that he did not get a chance to go at the
Timberwolves sooner in the fourth quarter.

“A little bit,” Curry said. “Knowing that they were just going on a run,
the lead was kind of whittling away. I played the whole fourth quarter
against Indiana. Didn’t work out. This didn’t work out. So, we’ve got to
find somewhere in the middle.”

Kerr, glancing at the upcoming schedule, seems committed to keeping a
close eye on Curry’s minutes.

“These last few weeks have been really tough on him,” Kerr said. “We’ve
put the burden of this franchise on his shoulders for 15 years. We can’t
expect him to play 35 minutes. We have five games in seven days on this
road trip.”

The addition of Paul last summer was made, theoretically, to alleviate
the tendency of Golden State’s offense going dormant whenever Curry has
a few minutes to catch his breath. It has, for the most part, been that
way since the 2018-19 NBA season.

That was when the Warriors had master scorer Kevin Durant and a
productive DeMarcus Cousins on the roster. That was when Thompson was in
his prime, and when Shaun Livingston could come off the bench, hunt a
favorable matchup and get buckets in isolation.

Those days are deep in the past. These Warriors are nothing like those

Kerr’s notion to curtail Curry’s minutes is admirable. The coach wants
to prolong the prime of a man who is in excellent condition but turned
36 years old this month.

But even with Paul on the roster, and the team’s oft-referenced depth,
the “non-Steph minutes” remain an issue that too often ruins the Warriors.

With the remaining 12 games all against lesser teams than Minnesota,
there should be nights when the Warriors can prevail without Curry going
beyond 30 minutes. This simply was not one of them.

sport / / NBCSBA (Poole): ‘Non-Steph minutes' bite Warriors once again vs. Timberwolves


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