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Warriors pull away from T'wolves


OAKLAND, Calif.—Steve Kerr will never wish for a star player to sit injured as Kevin Durant did against Minnesota last night.

But Golden State's coach sure saw a lot of encouraging signs from many in his supporting cast to pick up the slack with the NBA Finals MVP nursing a bruised left thigh.

The good ol' stand-bys did their share of dazzling, too.

Klay Thompson scored 28 points with six three-pointers, and Stephen Curry had 22 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds, as the Warriors beat the Timberwolves 125-101 for their fifth-straight win.

Even without injured “KD,” the defending champs began to look like their dominant selves behind another strong defensive performance.

“Five guys helping and communicating, talking, it was a thing of beauty tonight,” Curry said of the defence.

Draymond Green posted another balanced effort with seven points, six rebounds, six assists, and two blocks for the Warriors.

Andre Iguodala started in place of Durant, and the 2015 Finals MVP scored a season-high 11 points.

The Warriors notched a season-best quarter with 44 points in the third to pull away after leading just 51-50 at halftime.

“I actually kind of like these games when we have to sit somebody," Kerr said. ”We have so much talent, we can afford to miss one of our main guys.

“It's good for the team, it's good for morale, it's good for individual development,” he added.

“And it forces the group to play together when you're missing one of your main guys.”

Durant categorized his injury as “nothing too serious.”

He said he hurt the quadriceps muscle on the first play of the game against the Heat on Monday.

“If this were a playoff game, he'd be playing but it's not, so it makes perfect sense to give him tonight off,” Kerr reasoned.

“We have a couple more nights before our next game,” he noted.

“He [Durant] should be fine I would think by then.”

Durant hopes to play Saturday against the 76ers.

“Probably, we'll see,” he said.

Andrew Wiggins scored 17 points while Karl-Anthony Towns had 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Timberwolves had their five-game winning streak snapped.

This marked the first regular-season match-up between the teams after they played a pair of exhibition games in China last month.

It also was the first time the teams faced off with each atop their respective divisions.

Only three times previously had they played both with records of .500 or above.

“We got humbled tonight,” said Minnesota's Taj Gibson.

“That's the kind of level we want to get to, the way they're playing over there.”

Thompson shot 11-for-20 overall and 6-of-12 from long range.

Omri Casspi added 13 points, three blocks, and two steals.

Elsewhere in the NBA, Detroit beat Indiana 114-97, Orlando downed New York 112-99, Boston upended the L.A. Lakers 107-96, and Miami topped Phoenix 126-115.

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