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Wolves spoil Russell’s scintillating 52 point performance as Warriors fall in OT

© David Berding | 2019 Nov 8

The baby Warriors had their most impressive win of the young season vs. Portland with D’Angelo Russell sidelined.

On Friday night in Minnesota, Russell all but silenced the growing chatter that this version of the Warriors might be better served without him. Russell was a dominant force throughout the game, dropping an incredible 52 points including 14 straight down the stretch to send the game into overtime.

All the performance lacked was a happy ending. Golden State’s inability to rebound finally caught up with them, and the Timberwolves used multiple second chance opportunities to hand the Warriors their first heartbreaking loss of the young season, 125-119.

Still, Russell’s scintillating performance was the story. His 52 points were a career-high. He scored 21 of the last 23 points for the Warriors and 28 in the second half. He added 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. He was lethal in the pick and roll all night. He toyed with Minnesota defenders, proving equally deadly with a lazy floater in the lane and his quick release from beyond the arc.

He also sent defenders flying with his deadly pump fake on more than one occasion.

Russell’s ball dominant, stuck in second-gear style might not be what the Warriors are used to, but Friday was a showcase for how effective it can be when he’s rolling. It’s a big reason why the Wolves reportedly wanted him so bad this offseason, something that is probably even more true after Friday night.

In addition to the rebounding issues (outboarded 59-to-49), the Warriors were undone by their inability to defend Andrew Wiggins. This was both true at the end of regulation when Wiggins drove on Glenn Robinson III like he wasn’t even there to tie the game with five seconds left, and throughout the game, in which Wiggins finished with 40 points on 33 shots.

Minnesota also feasted on Golden State’s defensive issues around the basket, scoring a whopping 70 points in the paint.

The only negative caused by Russell’s return was how it affected Eric Paschall. Golden State has been running their offense through the talented big man with Russell sidelined, but Paschall was on the periphery Friday, not touching the ball for large stretches of the game.

When he did get involved he seemed out of rhythm, going 3-for-10 with 12 points before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

Golden State’s goal moving forward will be to figure out how to get the most out of Russell and Paschall simultaniously. The Warriors won’t win many games unless both players are involved.

Golden State has a quick turnaround with another game tomorrow night vs. the Okalhoma City Thunder (3-5).


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