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Warriors trounce Timberwolves without Durant

Mark Medina, The Mercury News on

Published in Basketball

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Golden State Warriors missed an All-Star player that has seemingly done everything with his outside shooting, post presence and shot-blocking abilities.

On most teams, a left thigh contusion to Kevin Durant would significantly derail a franchise's fortunes of winning a game. But the Golden State Warriors are not like most teams. They secured a 125-101 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at the Oracle for a fifth consecutive win because they have a roster filled with stars and role players equipped to absorb seemingly any absence.

Granted, the Warriors (9-3) appear unlikely to need to adjust without Durant. who suffered the injury early in Monday's game to Miami. Warriors coach Steve Kerr noted, "If this were a playoff game, he'd be playing." But this marks the time to take precautionary measures on an injury that could heal in time for Saturday's contest against Philadelphia.

And as it turned out, the Warriors showed once again they have enough depth to get by.

The Warriors have two of what many NBA talent evaluators consider the greatest shooters of all time. So Klay Thompson (28 points) and Stephen Curry (22 points) filled that role as usual. Thompson relied on his consistent shooting (11-of-20 from field, 6-of-12 from 3-point range. Curry overcame an average shooting night (7-of-16 from field, 2-of-7 from 3-point range) with trips to the foul line (8-of-8), rebounds (eight) and assists (eight).

The Warriors have a proven All-Star that has willingly accepted a bench role in the past three years. So, Andre Iguodala stepped in for his second start since the 2014-15 season. He added 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting and three rebounds after sputtering through the first 10 games averaging 4.5 points on a 40.9 percent clip.

The Warriors have a versatile defender and playmaker that gives mostly benefits the team with his edge. So, Warriors forward Draymond Green blended his facilitating with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting, while adding six rebounds and six assists.

The Warriors have hordes of role players eager to fill positional needs whenever the minutes are available.

Warriors guard Omri Casspi showed off his off-ball cutting en route to a season-high 13 points. Warriors forward Nick Young offered a mix of scoring (12 points) and facilitating (five assists). Warriors bigmen David West (10 points) and JaVale McGee (6) and offered the Warriors' versatility for big and small lineups. The only negative development involved guard Shaun Livingston, who left with an apparent injury after adding eight points and five assists.

The Warriors dished out 37 assists, which marked the third time in the past five games they had at least 35. But they did not initially make this look so easy.

(c)2017 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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