Decision to change starting lineup pays off in Warriors’ win over Timberwolves

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JANUARY 25: Golden State Warriors’ Kevon Looney #5 is guarded by Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jaden McDaniels #3 in the second quarter of their NBA game at the Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, Jan. 25, 2020. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

Steve Kerr’s decision to change the starting lineup paid off as the Warriors got out to an early lead and led wire-to-wire in their 130-108 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves Monday night at Chase Center.

With the previous starting lineup featuring rookie James Wiseman at center struggling, Kerr swapped Wiseman for Kevon Looney in the rotation. That lineup — consisting of Looney, Stephen Curry, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green — blitzed a Minnesota team without D’Angelo Russell (quad) and Karl-Anthony Towns (health and safety protocol) and opened up a 16-point lead midway through the opening period.

“We got off to a really good start,” Kerr said. “That’s what I was hoping for.”

The change came after the Warriors’ starting lineup had been outscored by a combined 74 points over the last 12 games, and dropped their last two games by a combined 34 points. After Saturday’s loss to the Jazz, Kerr said, “We’ve got to assess everything.”

This led to inserting Looney into the starting lineup for Wiseman who, as a raw 19-year-old, had trouble defending consistently and screening effectively for Curry. In his five-plus seasons in Golden State, Looney has…

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