MINNEAPOLIS -- Stephen Curry was in the locker room being treated for a sprained left ankle. Jermaine O'Neal was with him getting stitches in his chin. Andrew Bogut was glued to the bench with foul trouble. But the Warriors' lead grew and grew.
Golden State's bench was that good Wednesday night in a 106-93 win over playoff hopeful Minnesota.
"Our bench was one of the biggest reasons we won this game," David Lee said after totaling 22 points and 15 rebounds in his showdown with Kevin Love. "Our bench did a great job of decreasing their lead and giving us some momentum."
The return of Harrison Barnes had something to do with it. The second-year forward, who missed the first four games with left toe inflammation, produced 14 points in 14 minutes in his season debut. He provided much-needed scoring for a second unit that had been hard on the eyes offensively.
"I was just trying to get the jitters out. Obviously, I hadn't played in a month," Barnes said after making 6 of 8 shots. " ... I was thinking it would be one of two extremes: either be terrible or great."
Turned out great for the Warriors. Add some hungry defense by the reserves, and Klay Thompson's fourth-quarter fireworks, and the Warriors (4-1) eventually wore down Minnesota.
All of Golden State's wins have been by double-digits. The Warriors are 2-0 on their first trip of the season. They get a day off before taking on last season's Western Conference finalists: San Antonio and Memphis on a back-to-back set.
"They made us work for everything," Minnesota guard Kevin Martin said after totaling 23 points. "That's why they are one of the top teams in the West. Tonight, we learned a lesson of playing hard for 48 minutes."
Golden State needed production from its reserves on both ends as two of its starters -- Curry and Bogut -- weren't much of a factor.
Curry was having a rough night offensively, finishing with five points on 2-of-8 shooting and seven assists. He played just 24 minutes before leaving for good in the third quarter.
With 2:24 left in the third, Minnesota's Ricky Rubio went for a steal and wound up diving at Curry's feet. The two got tangled and Curry came up limping. He eventually called a timeout and limped off.
While he said his right knee was sore, he didn't return because of a sprained left ankle. He said that happened on a different play when he landed on someone's foot.
It's not the same ankle that's endured two surgeries and dozens of sprains over the last three years. But Warriors fans fear anytime the "a" word and Curry are mentioned in the same sentence.
Still, the star point guard said he isn't worried.
"I'm not concerned long-term. I'll just get my treatment and be ready for San Antonio," said Curry, his left foot propped up and swallowed by some contraption. "I was going to try to force it and go back out there, but you've got to be smart."
The backups more than picked up the slack. The bench quartet of O'Neal, Draymond Green, Marreese Speights and Toney Douglas changed the tone of the game in the first half with their aggressive, physical style.
Minnesota made seven of its first 12 shots and led by as much as eight early. But as the game wore on, scoring became increasingly difficult.
"They were really gritty," Lee said of the bench.
In the third quarter, Golden State took control. A 13-2 run early -- seven by Thompson -- put Golden State ahead 65-54 with 6:47 left in the quarter.
The lead was down to five before Speights' 3-pointer at the buzzer sent the Warriors into the fourth quarter up by eight.
Thompson, who finished with 30 points, did the rest. He scored 13 straight points in a three-minute stretch to start the fourth quarter. He knocked down five 3-pointers en route to 19 fourth-quarter points.
"We just come in to outwork teams," said Green, who went scoreless though the Warriors bench racked up 27 points. "The majority of our offensive firepower is in the first lineup. Our mindset is to lock a team up."
Warriors (4-1) at San Antonio (4-1), 5:30 p.m. CSNBA