Steph Curry warmed up for the Timberwolves by making a series of long-range jump shots on the Target Center court.
Everything changed when the Wolves unleashed their defense on the Warriors and their star.
Scoring became even easier.
The Warriors produced 47 first-quarter points Sunday, then sleepwalked to a 137-114 victory. Their selfless and artistic ball movement led to the usual array of wide-open shots that their stars are capable of hitting blindfolded.
The Warriors started the game with a lob for a dunk by former Wolf Andrew Wiggins and spent the rest of the game as if they had scripted the entire afternoon.
If the playground truism "Ball don't lie'' could be applied to this game, you'd say that the basketball offered a soliloquy on the skills and cohesiveness of the defending champs.
Here's what Wolves' fans should take from this blowout loss:
The Warriors are exceptional when relatively healthy, and they had their "A" lineup available on Sunday. It should be no surprise that a team learning to play together, like the Wolves, would have trouble against what might still be the best basketball team on the planet.
The Wolves' problem is not losing to the Warriors.
It's losing to teams like Charlotte.
Before playing the Hornets on Friday, the Wolves had won five straight. The current state of the NBA's Western Conference is paying homage to the NFL's philosophy on parity. Nobody has pulled away from the pack, meaning that the Wolves' winning streak moved them to within a couple of games of first place in the conference.
If they had defeated a bad and injured Charlotte team, and the Wolves would have had a six-game winning streak entering their test against the Warriors.
Instead, they played a lax and unintelligent game, violating just about every rule that every basketball player learns by the sixth grade.
Stop the ball in transition. Pressure the ballhandler. Hustle back on defense. Move the ball to the open player on offense.
The Wolves did none of those things Friday, failing what was essentially a test of their maturity, so playing the Warriors led to a two-game losing streak.
The Wolves are 10-10, far off the expected pace for a team that traded for Rudy Gobert. There is plenty of time for this team to learn to play together, and to make a run to a prime playoff seed.
What's troubling, though, is that this team so frequently fails at basketball basics. The Wolves shouldn't need time and continuity to play hard, play defense and pass the ball with purpose.
Wolves coach Chris Finch emphasizes these basics all the time.
The question for this team is, who, on the court, will lead them in the right direction?
D'Angelo Russell, who was a remarkable minus-32 in the first half, has played well of late statistically, but he's never displayed leadership traits.
Karl-Anthony Towns shares the ball with his teammates, but it's hard to say he has the personality of a leader.
Gobert doesn't seem comfortable in that role, and his whining about Wolves' fans not being more supportive indicates that he might lack the perspective required of a leader.
Anthony Edwards is 21. He could mature into a leader but he's not there yet.
Jaden McDaniels is trying to establish himself as an NBA starter.
The closest thing the Wolves have to an on-court leader is veteran wing Taurean Prince, a key bench player who, not coincidentally, played in all five games of the Wolves' winning streak and has been out with an injury during their two-game losing streak.
Similarly, second-string point guard Jordan McLaughlin's passing and energetic defending has been missed as he has been injured the last two games.
Patience with this team is warranted.
Patience with this team's lackadaisical approach is not.
There is no excuse for a bunch of highly paid athletes on a team with enormous expectations playing without intelligence or energy.