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Short-handed Warriors visit struggling Timberwolves

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Golden State Warriors -- playing short-handed -- lost their first game since the All-Star break on Friday at Portland.

Golden State is going to be without All-Star guard Stephen Curry on Sunday at Minnesota along with forward David West, and swingman Andre Iguodala is likely to miss the game.

But don't expect the Timberwolves to be too sympathetic.

Minnesota has lost three games in a row for the first time all season after falling at home on Thursday to Boston, all without All-Star guard Jimmy Butler.

Curry (right ankle), Jordan Bell (right ankle sprain) and Patrick McCaw (fractured left wrist) didn't travel to Minnesota. West (right arm cyst) and Iguodala (left wrist sprain) are with the team but missed Friday's loss.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Saturday that West will be held out Sunday. Iguodala is questionable.

"We miss all of our guys as far as minutes and as far as what they bring to this team," forward Draymond Green told the Mercury News. "But most importantly we need them to get healthy when they're healthy. But we're right here waiting. Until then, we have to try to win some games. I have no doubt in my mind that we will."

The Warriors (51-15) don't have to worry about the regular season, instead able to focus on being healthy for the postseason. The Timberwolves (38-29) are suddenly in a predicament.

Butler had knee surgery to repair a meniscus and his return this season is in doubt. He has missed the past five games.

Minnesota has lost four of the past six games, including the game Butler was hurt. The Timberwolves are 4-7 without Butler this season.

"We just have to play harder," point guard Jeff Teague said after Thursday's loss to Boston. "Just trust each other. I don't think we trusted each other on both ends, but a good team like that puts you in those kind of situations and they play well and they play hard."

Forward Nemanja Bjelica has started in place of Butler and led Minnesota on Thursday with team highs of 30 points and 12 rebounds. Bjelica has averaged 12.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in Butler's absence.

"It's important for me," Bjelica said. "The way how we opened the game, I scored some easy 3s and tried to rebound the ball and get it going. The problem is we played against one of the best teams in the league and they're an amazing team. If you want to do something big this year, we have to play defense like that."

The Timberwolves have slipped to sixth in the Western Conference, where four games separate third place from 10th. Minnesota is also in a tough part of the schedule that features upcoming games against Golden State, Washington, San Antonio and Houston.

"Just got to play hard," Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You've got to do your job. It's not something you talk about, it's something you do. Always look at the actions. The words don't mean a lot, it's your actions. It's what you're actually doing, not what you're saying."

While the Warriors miss Curry and their depth players, they still have Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Green to count on.

Durant scored 40 points Friday as Golden State's seven-game winning streak was snapped. Thompson added 25 points.

"You look at it with a wide scope. We could've done a lot of things better," Durant told the Mercury News. "We had some good looks. We didn't rebound or finish the quarters well. All that happens in a basketball game and all that happens throughout the season with ups and downs. You'll get better from it."
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