Because of the events in the first 9 minutes of the Timberwolves' game with Golden State Sunday at Target Center, most of what happened afterward didn't much matter.
Here's what happened:
The defending-champion Warriors, a team that came in having won just one of 10 road games, came out and blitzed the Wolves, busting open a 15-15 game with a 25-2 run while scoring 47 first-quarter points.
The final score: Golden State 137, Wolves 114.
"That was everything,'' Wolves coach Chris Finch said. "Then you have to make all the great plays, all the shots, get all the calls and all the 50-50 balls. So that was pretty much the story of the game.''
It didn't matter the Wolves (10-10) basically played the Warriors (11-10) straight up the rest of the way. Or that, down by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter, the Wolves rallied to within 10. Out of a timeout Stephen Curry hit a three and Klay Thompson hit two more, putting the game on ice.
At that point, with a game Monday in Washington, Finch emptied the bench.
As Finch has said many times, the Wolves play well when they start well. They did not start well Sunday.
"Just didn't do enough,'' said Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored 21 points.
"Give them credit first, they made shots,'' Towns said. "But, just came out a little flat.''
The Warriors didn't.
In the first 12 minutes eight Warriors players scored, led by Curry's 13. Golden State made 19 of 25 shots overall, six of 10 threes and all three of their free throws. So: 76% shooting, 60% from three.
Giving their usual lesson in ball movement and movement without the ball, the Warriors had 11 assists in the first quarter alone, 36 for the game.
"I will take the blame for that because I didn't feel like I was. ... I was just a step slow on everything,'' said center Rudy Gobert. He scored nine points with 10 rebounds and a block. His minus-8 rating was best among Timberwolves starters. "It was just one of those games, you know, for me. I gotta be better than that. To set the tone before I can say anything else.''
After spotting the Warriors a 40-17 lead, both teams scored 97 points. Minnesota got within 13 early in the second quarter only to have the Warriors score eight straight, followed by a similar 9-0 Warriors run in the fourth.
Curry led six Golden State player in double figures with a double-double (25 points, 11 rebounds). He also had eight assists. Draymond Green scored 19 with 11 assists, and Jordan Poole had 24 off the bench.
Anthony Edwards scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half. Jaylen Nowell had 16 off the bench.
"They're defending champs,'' Towns said. "They made shots. They showed you why they're great. Their cohesiveness is like an unspoken language out there. We've got great tape to watch and learn from it and understand where our mistakes were and what they did well against us. They have a level of trust with each other and we have to get there.''
From the start of games.
"Right now we're one game good, one game bad,'' said Austin Rivers, who started in place of the ill Jaden McDaniels. "We're inconsistent, but we're trying to put things together.''
Said Finch: "Our identity right now is super inconsistent. Very Jekyll and Hyde. We're not as physical or as tough as I'd like us to be. I think that's something we have to try to find.''