MINNEAPOLIS — D’Angelo Russell’s solo act wasn’t enough to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it came close.
After missing three games with a right ankle sprain, Russell returned to a starting lineup still missing Stephen Curry (hand), Klay Thompson (ACL) and Draymond Green (finger) and scored 52 points in the Warriors’ 125-119 overtime loss to the Timberwolves in Minnesota Friday.
With Russell back running point, the Warriors reverted to the pick-and-roll heavy scheme they implemented after Stephen Curry broke his hand.
As Golden State’s trio of centers Willie Cauley-Stein, Omari Spellman and Marquese Chriss setting high screens, Russell picked and prodded at Minnesota’s defense, setting the tone against a team that came into the night with the highest-ranked pace in the league.
Russell notched 12 quick points in the first seven minutes of the game, finishing the half with 17 points. He added 11 points to his total in the third quarter, but saved his best for the final frame.
D-Lo with the double fake to the pic.twitter.com/7flNSFhOHw
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) November 9, 2019
Unleashing a flurry of dribble moves, pump fakes and pull-up jumpers, Russell took every Warriors shot — 11 in total — to score 14 points in the final five minutes of regulation. Unable to convert on a potential go-ahead shot at the buzzer, the game was sent to overtime. However, the Warriors offense came undone after regulation as they were outscored 15-9 in the overtime period.
Russell’s return coincided with the Warriors playing the team he almost signed with over the summer.
The 23-year-old point guard said that when he was considering between signing with the Warriors and Timberwolves this offseason, California’s warm weather played a major factor.
“I did my first winter in New York and that was tough,” Russell told the Star Tribune. “So to get the opportunity to go somewhere where it’s warm again, I think that played a major part in my plan.”
Russell’s decision to sign with the Warriors allowed the front office to execute the sign-and-trade that sent Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets that facilitated their ability to sign a maximum salary player.
After scoring 30 against the San Antonio Spurs, Russell became the first player not named Curry, Thompson or Durant to score 30 or more points in two-straight appearances since Monta Ellis in 2012.
In addition to Russell, rookie forward Eric Paschall finished with 12 points while guard Alec Burks followed up his 28-point breakout performance against the Houston Rockets with 18 points off the bench.
The Timberwolves were led by guard Andrew Wiggins’ 40 points and center Karl-Anthony Towns, who finished with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports