The players group text chain is a vital staple of any NBA team.
They can be hopping after a win, or, in the case of the Timberwolves, fairly quiet during a rough start to the season.
Ricky Rubio said the Wolves' group chat has been the latter, and nights like Wednesday's 123-111 loss to Golden State aren't likely to increase the chatter.
"The team chat has been quiet," Rubio said. "It shouldn't be that way, but winning and losing affects your mood, affects how you go. I was in Utah, and it was a super rainy day outside, but everybody was in a good mood because we won the day before. The next day, we lost, and it was sunny outside, and we were sad, we didn't even talk to each other."
The Wolves already can't talk to each other much with all the COVID protocols in place, even there is much they need to discuss.
Stephen Curry and the Warriors gave them an opening Wednesday night without Karl-Anthony Towns (COVID protocols) and D'Angelo Russell (right quad contusion). Curry, after torching them Monday, had just two points in the first half, but the Wolves couldn't take advantage of the door Golden State opened.
When the third quarter started, Curry and the Warriors stopped messing around and ended the game against the undermanned Wolves.
Curry finished the game with 16 points — 12 in the decisive third quarter — while former Wolves forward Andrew Wiggins added 19 as Golden State beat the Wolves for the second time in three nights.
"Miscommunication, game plan mistakes," coach Ryan Saunders said. "I thought we did a nice job in the first half in a lot of areas. And then that third quarter we let go of the rope a little bit there and if you do that for three minutes against this team you can dig yourself a hole."
Rookie Anthony Edwards made a good impression in a nationally-televised game with 25 and had a strong second quarter while the No. 2 pick behind Edwards in the November draft, Golden State's James Wiseman, had 25 and six rebounds off the bench.
The Wolves had a scare when center Naz Reid, who had been a bright spot for the Wolves in Towns' absence, left in the fourth quarter clutching his right wrist. But Reid, who had 19 points and seven rebounds, was able to return after getting hurt blocking a shot from Kelly Oubre (20 points) with 7 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in a game the Warriors won comfortably despite the Wolves making a late run in garbage time.
Reid said afterward his wrist was "not bad" even as he said it was a little sore.
"I'm just a little banged up," Reid said. "I mean it's basketball, things are going to happen. I'll be all right."
Meanwhile, Rubio's struggles continued as he scored five points on 2 of 7 shooting.
"I'm going to keep working hard. I've been in the league for 10 years and I know who I am, but it's off," Rubio said. "My game is not here, and I've got to find it."
The Warriors and Curry gave the Wolves a bit of a break with Curry starting 0-for-7 in the first quarter but the Wolves started the game 1-for-11 and trailed Golden State the entire quarter.
It wasn't until the two high-profile rookies checked in that the scoring finally got going. Wiseman started it for Golden State with a pair of three-pointers while Edwards, who was shooting just 24% over his past seven games, shook that off. Edwards looked like he knew ESPN was broadcasting the game and was playing in front of a larger audience. He connected from inside and out and looked unstoppable at times especially when attacking off the dribble to help the Wolves go up 36-31.
"I just try to stay aggressive as much as I can. No matter if I'm scoring or not, I just try to keep my teammates involved," Edwards said.
Curry didn't score his first bucket of the game until nine seconds were left in the half and the Warriors took a 58-51 lead into the locker room.
In the second half the Warriors took advantage of a shooting drought from Josh Okogie, who missed four consecutive threes. By the time Okogie exited the game the Warriors were up 73-60 with 6:18 remaining.
"I'm never telling him not to shoot the ball. That's what we need from that position…" Saunders said. "I want Josh to shoot the ball. He's going to find his stroke. He'll make those."
But after that it was essentially over as the Warriors increased their lead to 23.
The Warriors and Curry forgot all about their sluggish start and within the next 4:08, the Warriors had increased the lead to 90-67. Curry nailed a three from the corner and looked back at the Wolves bench while the ball was still in the air.
"We had lapses where it seemed we forgot Steph was on the court," Edwards said.
And if only for a little bit, the Warriors made them pay.
• The Star Tribune did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews after the game.