- The continued development and stellar play of Derrick Williams. D-Will has been on fire lately notching a number of double-doubles and finally realizing that he's an incredibly athletic specimen and can be a dominant force in this League.
- I obviously want to see Kevin Love & Chase Budinger back on the court.
- I'd like these Alexey Shved with another big game. It's been awhile since we've seen him dominate a defense by cutting to the rim for easy buckets, knocking down three-point shots and hitting his teammates for easy baskets.
- I want to see Ricky Rubio, Andrei Kirilenko, Kevin Love & Nikola Pekovic on the court together.
- I'd like to see Chris Johnson get some playing time. There's no reason he shouldn't see some court time on a team that's won 20 games in 54 tries!
- I'd like to see Pekovic use an 'up and under' move. Everytime he gets the ball down low, he backs in and as he immediately turns, he throws up a shot. I honestly can't think of one move he's used when he's back to the basket that he's used a pump fake! It wouldn't be that hard to teach him and it would REALLY help his game.
- While I did say I don't care if the Wolves win another, at the same time, I'd like to see Rick Adelman get to 1000 wins this season.
I'm sure there are more, but there's a few for ya!
Tonight the Wolves are taking on another team that's struggled this season. The difference between these two teams' struggles is the expectations put upon each team. The Lakers were supposed to be an unstoppable force in the NBA this season, while Minnesota was hoping to make the playoffs until injuries derailed their season.
The TWolves are 20-34 on the season, losers of three straight and 2-8 in their last ten games. As it currently stands, the Wolves are 12th in the NBA (ranked ahead of the Kings, Suns & Hornets who are all tied for 13th in the West). The Wolves are just 2.5 games out of the 15th seed and the Western Conference's worst record. The Lakers are 28-30 on the year, 18-11 at home and 6-4 in their last ten games. As it currently stands, the Lakers are 9th in the West and just 2.5 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot.
The Lakers will likely win this one, if nothing else, because history is on their side. The Lakers have won 20 straight games against the Wolves and 23 in the last 24 meetings. Minnesota's last win in the series came on March 6, 2007 when the Wolves defeated L.A. in double overtime, 117-107.
A big part of the Lakers' success vs. the Wolves? Kobe Bryant. Kobe is averaging 27 points per game in his last nine games vs. Minnesota.
The Lakers have turned things around as of late as they look for a playoff push. The Lakers have won 11 of their last 16 games.
These two teams met once already this season. That first meeting came on the first day of this month (while today's meeting comes on the last). On Feb. 1st, the Lakers defeated the Wolves in Minnesota 100-111. Los Angeles was without Dwight Howard so Pau Gasol started in his place. Pau had 22pts, 12reb, 2ast & 3blks. Kobe added 17pts, 12reb, 8ast & Nash finished with 17pts, 7reb, 7ast & 2blks. These two teams will meet once more after tonight--on March 27th in Minnesota.
The hits keep coming for the Wolves as not only will they be without Kevin Love (hand), Chase Budinger (knee), Brandon Roy (knees) and Malcolm Lee (knee/hip); Andrei Kirilenko is out with a calf strain and from the way things sound, he could be out for a while. He has medical tests scheduled for Monday that should tell us more.
The Lakers are without two of their big men. Jordan Hill is done for the season after havingseason-ending hip surgery. Pau Gasol is dealing with some plantar fasciitis in his foot that's kept him out for an extended period. He was recently cleared to begin running on an elliptical machine, however.
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups in this one...
Ricky Rubio (8.2P, 3R, 6.8A, 2.2S)
Luke Ridnour (12.2P, 2.8R, 3.9A, 1.1S)
Mickael Gelabale (5.6P, 2.8R, 0.4S)
Derrick Williams (10.5P, 5.3R, 0.6S)
Nikola Pekovic (16P, 9R, 0.9B)
Steve Nash (12P, 2.9R, 7.1A)
Kobe Bryant (27.1P, 5.4R, 5.6A, 1.3S)
Metta World Peace (12.7P, 5.5R, 1.7S)
Earl Clark (8.3P, 6.3R, 0.7B)
Dwight Howard (16.3P, 11.9R, 1.1S, 2.3B)
Ricky Rubio had (in my opinion) a terrible game on Tuesday night in Phoenix. While he did finish with 10 assists & 4 steals, he also added 6 turnovers and shot just 2-for-12 from the field which included a game winner that missed (and sent the game to OT) as well as two missed shots in the OT that finally forced Adelman to sit him with 1:40 to play and the game still up for grabs. It'll be fun to watch him go head to head with Steve Nash, a player he's drawn plenty of comparisons to in his career.
While I'm expecting another Wolves loss, I would certainly welcome a Wolves win, putting a halt to these 20 straight losses.
Tipoff is a late 9:30pmCT as the game will be broadcast nationally on TNT as the second of a double header. We'll still have a full gameday recap following the final horn, enjoy the game, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!