Sunday's matchup features two struggling Northwest teams in dire need of a W. The good news is...one of them will win. If the TWolves grab the victory they'll jump a full game ahead of the Blazers and sweep the season series. If Portland wins they'll jump a few percentage points ahead of Minnesota--they'll also jump ahead of them in the Northwest Division and Western Conference standings.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are 25-28 on the season, 12-15 on the road and 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Portland Trailblazers are 24-28 on the year, 17-9 at home and are 4-6 in their last 10 games.
With the loss to Boston, Minnesota has lost three of their last four games at home. Now they'll head out on the road for a two-game road trip (Portland on Sunday/Sacramento on Monday). Unfortunately, the road has been much kinder to Minny, as of late. Since March 12th the Timberwolves have gone 3-6 in their last nine games on the road.
Clearly this isn't the same Trailblazers team we faced a month ago. Prior to the March 15th Trade Deadline the Trailblazers made a couple trades. They sent forward Gerald Wallace (lead the Blazers in steals with 1.5--also scored 13.6ppg and 6.8rpg) to the New Jersey Nets for a Top-3 protected first round pick, Shawne Williams and Mehmet Okur (who they later waived). The second trade was with the Houston Rockets. They sent Marcus Camby (lead the Blazers in rebounds w/8.8 and blocks with 1.5) to Houston and in return, received former-Wolf Jonny Flynn & Hasheem Thabeet. After all these trades, the Blazers fired head coach Nate McMillan and named Kaleb Canales as the interim head coach. During this stretch the Blazers also waived oft-injured center and former #1 pick, center Greg Oden.
Many are saying Portland is in "full-tank mode". Clearly a complete change in culture for the Blazers. They got really close to being and staying annual contenders. With a core of Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge, Gerald Wallace and a healthy Greg Oden could've challenged for a championship. Now, they'll be looking to the future, rebuilding with the draft and free agency, in hopes that they can build around a core of Aldridge & Batum.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will be without J.J. Barea & Michael Beasley. Both players didn't go on the road trip. However, starting center Nikola Pekovic, did. Pekovic went on the road trip which speculates that he'll either play on Sunday or Monday.
The Portland Trailblazers may be without their best player. LaMarcus Aldridge hyper-extended his elbow in the Blazers' game vs. the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday. He missed the Blazers' last game vs. the Clippers and may be out on Sunday, as well.
If Aldridge is unable to play, newly-acquired forward J.J. Hickson will get the start. J.J. was waived by the Sacramento Kings on March 19th. He's played 5 games with the Blazers and is averaging 16.0ppg & 5.8rpg in that time.
The Blazers' last game was a one-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. That game came Friday night as the Clips were able to defeat Portland 98-97. Hickson had 29pts & 13reb and Batume added 18pts. Chris Paul hit a driving layup with just five seconds to play, for the win. Had Portland won it would've been the Blazers' first back-to-back wins since Jan. 23rd/24th.
Let's get a look at the probable starters for Sunday's game...
Luke Ridnour vs. Raymond Felton (10.8ppg, 6.3apg, 1.3spg)
Martell Webster vs. Wesley Matthews (12.7ppg, 3.2rpg, 1.4spg)
Wesley Johnson vs. Nicolas Batum (13.9ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0bpg)
Kevin Love vs. LaMarcus Aldridge (21.4ppg, 8.1rpg, 2.5apg)
Nikola Pekovic vs. Joel Pryzbilla (2.1ppg, 4.9rpg, 0.7bpg)
If Nikola Pekovic is unable to play, Kevin Love will move to center and Derrick Williams will get the start at power forward. If LaMarcus Aldridge can't play, J.J. Hickson (6.1ppg, 5.2rpg, 0.6spg) will start at power forward.
That's all for now, tipoff is set for 8pmCT at the Rose Garden in Portland, Sunday April 1st. A full gameday recap can be found here following the final horn. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves definitely could've used a win tonight, but instead are walking away with yet another loss to drop them to 25-28 on the year.
"The Big Ticket" was in his old stomping grounds and he looked quite at home. The Celtics may have been without Ray Allen and backup swingman Mickael Pietrus, but they had no trouble against a VERY shorthanded TWolves team.
The Wolves were without three of their top four scorers. J.J. Barea, Nikola Pekovic & Michael Beasley were all out and there's a chance we may not be seeing them anytime soon. J.J. won't travel with the team on their road trip (starts Sunday vs. Portland), Pek & Beas will go, but there's no certainty they'll even play.
The result of not having those three guys tonight? The Timberwolves' lowest scoring output of the season: 79 points. The team's previous low was 80 vs. the Grizzlies on Feb. 8th.
The TWolves got off to a bad start as the Celtics outscored them 31-20. The Celtics held a double-digit advantage--basically through the remainder of the game. After three quarters the TWolves were down by 12. The TWolves scored 12 points in the fourth quarter while the Celts went off for 21 to finish the game; 79-100.
Kevin Love had a chance to score 500 points in the month of March, but fell just 9 points short. He finishes his UNBELIEVABLE month of March with totals of: 491 points, 223 rebounds and 48 three-pointers made.
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top performers for each team...
HOT: Kevin Garnett was 'hot' for the Celtics. KG felt more than comfortable 'back home'. Scoring 24 points on 12-of-18 shooting. There were countless times that he had a wide-open 16-20 footer than he'd easily knock down. Paul Pierce also had a solid game. I don't think there's really any TWolves player that you can say was 'hot' tonight. If I had to pick one. Ridnour had a decent game: 15pts & 8ast on 54% shooting.
NOT: The Timberwolves. Minnesota shot 35% on the night. Kevin Love connected on just 5 field goals in 18 attempts. Starting power forward Derrick Williams shot just 5-of-14 on the night and finished with 14 points. Beyond Love, Luke & D-Will, no other TWolves players scored in double digits.
MISC.: Rajon Rondo had two more assists than the entire TWolves team! He finished with 17 on the night.....Ray Allen was out, but Avery Bradley started in his place and had 17pts on 6-of-9 shooting.....Bass added 12pts & 6reb......
KEY STATS: Those team turnovers were a big part of Minnesota's loss. It's not just the Celtics were able to force Minny into 21 and scored 16 points. The TWolves were only able to force 9 turnovers for...three points! Those assist totals are pretty embarrassing, though (the fact that Rondo had more than the entire TWolves team).
FINAL NOTES: Vanilla Ice performed at halftime at the Target Center and hear from people in attendance it was a lot of fun and no one left their seat after the first half!.....Check out our injury report to get full updates on Pek, Beas & J.J. for the upcoming two-game road trip (and beyond)......The Timberwolves are now 0-6 against the Kevin Garnett Boston Celtics......
UP NEXT: Sunday April 1st vs. the Portland Trailblazers, at the Rose Garden, tipoff 8pmCT
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
UPDATE (3/30 @5:45pmCT): The TWolves will be without center Nikola Pekovic, forward Michael Beasley and guard J.J. Barea. You can find the full injury report with the detail under our "Team Report" section on this site. For the Celtics--they'll be without Ray Allen. Expect Avery Bradley to get the start.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are facing the Boston Celtics at home on Friday. A team that has won nine straight over Minnesota these past few years. The Celtics will also be going for a 5th straight win over Minnesota at the Target Center.
These are different times for both franchises, however. The Minnesota Timberwolves are no longer the punching bag for the NBA. The core of that 2008 Championship team still remains intact with Rondo, Allen, Pierce and Garnett. They may not be seen as a strong contender anymore, but that remains hard to say, considering how well they've been playing lately.
The Boston Celtics are currently on a three-game winning streak and have won five of their last six games and are currently tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Atlantic Division. With a win over the TWolves the Celtics would be in sole possession of that spot.
The Celtics are currently 7th in the Eastern Conference, if they were to win, they'd be bumped up to 4th in the East. The Timberwolves are still looking to get themselves back in the playoffs. The aftermath of Rubio's season-ending injury has not been kind to Minnesota. Rubio went down on March 9th. The last time the TWolves strung successive wins in a row was March 3-7 (was a 3-game winning streak). A win vs. the Celtics would be their first two-game win streak since that time.
Minnesota may have fallen back a bit, but they haven fallen out of the playoff picture. The Timberwolves are currently 11th in the Western Conference and are 2.5 game(s) behind three teams (Denver, Houston & Utah) tied for 7th.
After a win vs. Charlotte, another W over the Celts would prove helpful. That may not be so easy, though. In the past five games Paul Pierce has been playing, quite well. Pierce is averaging 24.4ppg over that time--which is 5.4 higher than his season average.
Paul Pierce may be playing well as of late, but Kevin Love has been playing at at UNBELIEVABLE level! Love is averaging 31.3ppg during the month of March, which is 4.7 above his average on the year. With the March hes' been having Love is receiving well-deserved MVP consideration. However, Love has said recently that if the only way he should be considered for the playoffs is if the Wolves make the playoffs. With his 30, 40, 50...point games, if those kinds of numbers continue and he can get a little help from the role players--there's absolutely no reason Minnesota can't break into the tough battle that is the Western Conference playoffs.
The Boston Celtics are one team that Kevin Love has struggled against during his career. His career average vs. Boston is 10.5ppg while shooting just over 36% from the field. That is his worst against any opponent. That doesn't mean much, though. His averages vs. Charlotte were the second-worst against any opponent in his career. If you'll recall he dropped 40pts, 19reb & 4ast on the Cats. Enough said!
Another big player for the Celtics recently, has been Kevin Garnett, I've heard plenty "Kevin Garnett of Old" comments on Twitter. With Jermaine O'Neal out and the Celtics' only other center being former-TWolf Greg Stiemsma, Kevin Garnett has manned the middle for the Celtics. He'll be playing in his former stomping grounds where he's said he misses the fans...but not the franchise. Apparently a bit of 'bad blood' for KG. Against his former team, Garnett has played 5 games against Minnesota. In those five games, KG is averaging 12.4ppg. Hopefully that's the Kevin Garnett we see tonight...not the "KG of Old".
The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently 25-27 on the season, 13-12 at home and 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Boston Celtics are 28-22 on the year, 10-14 on the road and 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are also, currently on a three-game winning streak.
The Celtics' last game came against the Utah Jazz. The result was a 94-82 win. Kevin Garnett had 23pts & 10reb, Pierce added 20 and Brandon Bass had 19. 10 of Garnett's 23 points came in the fourth quarter after the Celtics had squandered an 18-point lead. KG was a big part of pulling away for the W, in that one.
The TWolves currently have three players that are listed as 'questionable' for tomorrow's game: Nikola Pekovic, J.J. Barea and Michael Beasley. Pek is dealing with bone spurs in his ankle, it was stated earlier this week that he may be able to play on Friday...at the earliest. If he's unable to go, Kevin Love & Derrick Williams will likely pair up in the frontcourt together, once again. Michael Beasley & J.J. Barea are both more likely to play. J.J. is out with a thigh contusion (bruise) and Beasley is still dealing with that sprained toe. I'd expect at least J.J. to play, but I'll give an update here...before tipoff. If J.J. is able to return, that'll be 'big' for Minnesota who need him as their backup point guard. Malcolm Lee has been all right, but J.J. is clearly (at this time) superior.
For the Celtics they will be without reserve swingman Mickael Pietrus who took a nasty fall and is currently listed as OUT with a concussion. They did say he's been showing some improvement, but is still out indefinitely. The Celts may also be without their starting shooting guard Ray Allen. He's currently listed as a gametime decision. He's missed the past four games with an ankle injury...here's hoping that'll be one more...
Let's take a look at the probable starting lineups...
Luke Ridnour vs. Rajon Rondo (12.4ppg, 10.8apg, 1.7spg)
Martell Webster vs. Ray Allen (14.6ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.0spg)
Wesley Johnson vs. Paul Pierce (19ppg, 5.1rpg, 1.2spg)
Derrick Williams vs. Brandon Bass (12.2ppg, 5.9rpg, 0.8bpg)
Kevin Love vs. Kevin Garnett (15.6ppg, 8.1rpg, 1.1bpg)
If Ray Allen isn't able to play, Avery Bradley (5.0ppg, 1.5rpg, 1.3apg) will likely get the start at shooting guard. The anticipated matchup will be Kevin Love vs. Kevin Garnett. The "NEW" vs. the "old". I laughed at one person on Twitter that suggested we have an actual torch that we light and have KG hand down to K-Love!
That's all for now. One final note: at halftime multi-platinum recording artist Vanilla Ice will be performing. I find it kind of strange...but who knows! Hopefully the Celtics are the ones who are "Ice, Ice Baby!" Haha...all right, I'll just see myself out...
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a five-year losing streak vs. the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Tonight's 88-83 win was Minnesota's first since January 1, 2007.
The reason for the W? What's the reason for almost every TWolves victory? Sir Kevin Love. Love continued his March dominance with a 40-19 game. I've all but one TWolves game this season and I can honestly say that the majority of the games, I get done watching and I look at the box score and it's just incredible how routine and 'quitely' K-Love can go off for these kinds of amazing games. With another huge game his MVP stock has to be getting stronger (at least Top 3-4, behind LeBron, Durant and possibly Kobe).
Tonight was a must win for Minnesota's playoff hopes. The Wolves were facing a Bobcats team that's the only team in NBA that hasn't won at least ten games. To be fair, the Cats are MUCH better than their record states. Injuries to key players like D.J. Augustin & Corey Maggette have been tough for Charlotte...clearly!
Let's get a look at some of tonight's top performers from each team...
HOT: Kevin Love. I should just make this part of our gameday recaps! "Who was hot in tonight's game? Kevin Love was hot in tonight's game!" 40pts & 19reb should never look trivial...he makes these eye-popping numbers routine and seemingly effortless. For the Cats is rookie Kemba Walker. Kemba scored 11 of his 20 points in the final quarter as he and Maggette were the only Bobcats to score in the fourth quarter as they still had a chance to pull out a W.
NOT: For the TWolves: Derrick Williams. D-Will shot just 2-for-11 as the team's starting power forward in 23 minutes. He finished with just 5pts & 2reb. For the Bobcats it was D.J. Augustin. He shot 0-for-4 and finished without a point.
MISC.: 13 of Love's 19 rebounds were defensive......Ridnour's 14 assists is a new season-high and one shy of tying his career-high........Tolliver's 11-11 is his first double-double of the season........Augustin did have 8 assists........Eduardo Najera led the team with 8 rebounds off the bench........Henderson added 15pts & 6reb on 5-of-14 shooting in 41 minutes........
KEY STATS: The TWolves crashed the boards hard, with a +12 on the glass, they shot and made more three-pointers than Charlotte. The Cats did have an advantage on the break with a +18 and the Bobcats were able to force more turnovers (14) for 18 points.
UP NEXT: Friday, March 30th vs. the Boston Celtics at the Target Center, tipoff 7pmCT.
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to keep their playoff hopes alive and a matchup with the struggling Bobcats--might just do the trick.
A loss to the Bobcats tonight, would be Minnesota's 5th-straight loss at Time Warner Cable Arena. This obviously isn't the same Bobcats team 'of old'. Gone are Stephen Jackson (San Antonio), Boris Diaw (San Antonio) & Gerald Wallace (New Jersey) and gone are their playoff hopes in the Eastern Conference. Minnesota is 1-6 all-time vs. the Bobcats in Charlotte.
Hopefully a matchup with Charlotte will be enough to get them 'back on track'. Minnesota began March by winning three of its first four games. Since then, the TWolves have dropped eight of their last eleven and have fallen out of the Western Conference playoff picture. Yesterday's loss to Memphis was Minnesota's sixth loss in seven games away from the Target Center.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently 24-27 on the season, 11-15 on the road and 3-7 in their last ten games. The Charlotte Bobcats are 7-40 on the year, 4-18 at home and 2-8 in their last ten games. Charlotte is also the only team that has won fewer than ten games this season!
Minnesota will be without Nikola Pekovic (for a 5th-straight game) and J.J. Barea (for a 3rd-straight game). Nikola is out with bone spurs in his right ankle. Because of them he overcompensated and his left ankle is also now in pain. J.J. Barea is dealing with a thigh contusion (bruise). It's sounding as though both players could return for the TWolves hom game--Friday vs. the Celtics.
For the Bobcats they currently have two of their reserves dealing with injuries. Eduardo Najera is currently listed as day-to-day with a knee injury. DeSagana Diop is also listed as day-to-day with a hamstring injury. Both players missed Charlotte's game on Monday vs. the Celtics. Both are listed as questionable for tonight's game.
The Bobcats' last game was a 102-96 loss to the Boston Celtics. Gerald Henderson had 21pts and Derrick Brown & Byron Mullens came off the bench for big games--Brown w/16pts & 7ast--B.J. w/18pts & 7reb. Paul Pierce was a key to the Celtics' W as he went off for a season-high 36pts. Charlotte went out and competed and gave themselves a chance to win--which is all you can ask for.
Kevin Love just may be more than enough to down Charlotte. In 14 games this month, Love is averaging 30.6ppg. In his three career games in Charlotte, however, Love is being held to 11.7ppg & 8.7rpg. However, in the last two meetings vs. Charlotte, Love has totaled 65 points & 33 rebounds (both games in Minnesota).
Let's take a look at the starting lineups tonight...
Luke Ridnour vs. D.J. Augustin (11.3ppg, 6.1apg, 0.8spg)
Martell Webster vs. Gerald Henderson (14.5ppg, 2.2apg, 0.9spg)
Wesley Johnson vs. Corey Maggette (15ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.1apg)
Derrick Williams vs. Tyrus Thomas (5.9ppg, 4.2rpg. 1.4bpg)
Kevin Love vs. Bismack Biyombo (4.5ppg, 5.5rpg, 1.8bpg)
I'm not 100% certain this will be Charlotte's starting lineup. You can be sure that they'll start Henderson at shooting guard, Maggette at small forward and Biyombo at center. At point guard it will be either D.J. or Kemba Walker.
That's all for now. Tipoff is set for 6pmCT from Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte. You can find a full gameday recap of this one following the final horn. Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves were in this one till the end and gave themselves a chance to win this one, but Memphis was able to pull away late and down Minnesota, 86-93.
Minnesota were able to hang around in this one thanks to none other than....Kevin Love. I doubt there was too much suspense to that, we all know Kevin Love is the heart and soul of this team, but unfortunately he didn't have too much help as Memphis got some big performances from a number of players. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, got at least 12 points from all five of their starters.
The Grizzlies were playing without their starting All-Star center Marc Gasol, who was out with a sore ankle. Dante Cunningham & Marreese Speights paired in the frontcourt to go against Derrick Williams & Kevin Love. The TWolves were without Nikola Pekovic (bone spurs-ankle), J.J. Barea (thigh bruise) and Luke Ridnour is far from 100%....or even 70%!
A late push by Memphis had them up by 11 points in the final two minutes. Minnesota was able to cut that by a couple threes from Kevin Love & Wayne Ellington were able to cut it to 5, but the Grizzlies hit a few more shots and by then all that was in doubt was the final score. The big difference in that final quarter was free throws and fouls. The TWolves were whistled for 8 fouls, Memphis for 2, the Grizzlies shot 14 free-throws and made 13, while Minnesota went 0-for-0.
Minnesota dropped to 24-27 on the year and are now 3.5 games behind Utah, Denver & Houston--who're currently tied for the 7th seed in the Western Conference.
The Grizzlies are a great team and showed why they'll be one of the top six seeds in the Western Conference come April. The Grizz moved to 27-21 on the year and are a great team at home: 17-7.
This is the 7th straight TWolves loss to the Grizzlies. The TWolves will have one last chance to face Memphis this year. That game comes April 17th at the Target Center.
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top performers...
HOT: Kevin Love. 28 points, hitting some big threes and continually carrying Minnesota on the offensive end. I really hope Pek can come back SOON! Pek gives a lot to this team. The TWolves could definitely use his low-post scoring/presence & rebounding. For the Grizz, Rudy Gay & Speights were 'en fuego'! All five Memphis starters scored in double digits but they headlined that group and Speights' interior defense & low-post scoring was key.
NOT: Anthony Tolliver & Michael Beasley. Both of these guys are capable of a lot more. You've got to think with a little more output on the offensive end from one of those guys--this one could've turned out differently. Tolliver had been on a tear the past few games, before tonight's 2pts, 1reb, 1blk in 13 minutes. Beasley is always capable of getting hot, tonight was not one of those nights. He finished with 3pts, 1reb in 11 minutes.
MISC.: Martell Webster had 10rebs (5def, 5off) and 9pts......Ridnour led MIN with 5 assists.......Love's four blocks is a season-high.......Cunningham was in the starting lineup with Gasol out, he had 14rebs (10def, 4off).........
KEY STATS: The key to tonight's win for Memphis? Out-rebounded Minnesota by a +9, killed the Wolves on the break with a +13 (8 of their fast break points came in the first few minutes of the 1st quarter), the Grizzlies beat the Wolves in the paint with a +8. Surprisingly, however, the TWolves committed less turnovers than Memphis and the Wolves scored more points off those TO's. The 0% Memphis shot from three is a new season-low for a TWolves opponent.
UP NEXT: Tomorrow night (Wednesday, March 28) vs. the Charlotte Bobcats in Charlotte.
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves returned from a franchise-record 7-game road trip, in which they went 2-5 overall. They returned home Sunday and beat the division rival Denver Nuggets by 17, back at the Target Center.
The Wolves will now go on a 2-game road trip beginning Tuesday vs. the Grizzlies followed by a stop in Charlotte on Wednesday, before returning home to face Boston, on Friday.
Minnesota realizes they need to build on that W over the Nuggets if they want to climb back into the Western Conference playoff picture. Minnesota is currently sitting at 11th in the Western Conference. A win over the Memphis Grizzlies would be BIG! The Grizzlies are currently 6th in the Western Conference and are just 0.5 game(s) out of the 4th spot in the West.
Beating the Memphis, will be no easy task, however. The TWolves are looking to avoid a 10th loss in 11 meetings with Memphis as well as a 6th consecutive loss to the Grizz at the Fed-Ex Forum.
In the last meeting between these two teams, both teams were without their starting power forwards. Memphis was without Zach Randolph who was still out with that knee injury and Kevin Love was serving game two of a two game suspension (for that 'altercation' between Love & Houston's Luis Scola). Both will/should be available for Tuesday's matchup.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are currently 24-26 on the season, 11-14 on the road and 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Memphis Grizzlies are currently 26-21 on the year, 16-7 at home and 4-6 in their last 10 games.
Let's take a look at the likely starting lineups for each squad...
PG: Luke Ridnour vs. Michael Conley (12.9ppg, 7.3apg, 2.4spg)
SG: Martell Webster vs. Tony Allen (10.6ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8spg)
SF: Wesley Johnson vs. Rudy Gay (18.8ppg, 6.6rpg, 1.5spg)
PF: Derrick Williams vs. Marreese Speights (8.8ppg, 6.2rpg)
C: Kevin Love vs. Marc Gasol (15.5ppg, 9.6rpg, 1.8bpg)
Zach Randolph hasn't returned to the starting lineup since going down with that knee injury. These past few games he's been coming off the bench as the Grizz continue to pair Speights & Gasol in their fronctcourt.
The Memphis Grizzlies currently have no injuries to their players--or at least any that should cause them to miss Tuesday's game. The TWolves on the other hand...are really 'banged up'. Starting center Nikola Pekovic will be out until at least Friday. We found out yesterday that he has bone spurs in his right ankle that will likely require surgery in the offseason. Because of the spurs in his right ankle, he overcompensated with his left ankle and now both are hurting him. J.J. Barea didn't make the road trip (MEM/CHA) because of a thigh contusion that he suffered vs. the Thunder and didn't play vs. Denver, because of. Hopefully he'll be able to return on Friday, as well. Michael Beasley returned after missing one game (vs. OKC on Friday). He'll likely play, even though that toe continues to bother him. Lastly, Luke Ridnour said that his groin, back and nose have been bothering him and are all very sore, but he made the road trip and intends to play.
With Pek out the Wolves will likely go with that Derrick Williams-Kevin Love frontcourt that they have the past few games. Adelman likely won't switch it up, though I'm sure he'll question if 6-10 Love will be able to match up with 7-1 Gasol. With Barea out and Ridnour banged up, Malcolm Lee will likely get a good run at point guard these next two games. He played 14 minutes vs. Denver, scored his first 2 points and added 1 rebound & 3 assists.
The Grizzlies' last game was a 102-96 win over the Lakers on Sunday. Gay had 18pts, O.J. had 16pts and Conley added 13pts & 8ast. They were three of seven Grizzlies players that scored in double-digits. The Grizzlies had a 14-point lead in the third quarter that they squandered, but were able to pull away in the fourth quarter for the W. O.J. scored 12 of his 16 points in that fourth quarter. There was also some controversy as Mike Brown benched Kobe Bryant in that fourth quarter.
FINAL NOTES: The Memphis Grizzlies recently signed Gilbert Arenas for the rest of the season contract. He'll provide another scoring guard off the bench, hopefully he'll work out better than Allen Iverson did for the Grizz a couple years back......
Tipoff is set for 7pmCT from the Fed-Ex Forum in Memphis, TN.
That's all for now, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The TWolves cruised to an easy win over the Denver Nuggets on the back of two big runs that propelled the Wolves to the win.
Minnesota scored 68 points in the first half. Those 68 points were a season-high for a Nuggets' opponent this season for total first half points. The TWolves were up 25 points going into halftime. Minnesota used a 23-9 run in the first half to grab the lead.
The TWolves started off hot in the third quarter and were able to bump the lead to 28 on the back of a 14-0 run. The Nuggets were able to cut that down to just 18 going into the fourth quarter.
The TWolves got a big win over a division rival and a team that they'll be fighting for a playoff spot in the lower seeds of the Western Conference these last 15+ games.
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top performers...
HOT: KEVIN LOVE! KEVIN LOVE! KEVIN LOVE! Mr. Love followed up his career night on Friday with a 30-21 game. Kevin Love is a star in this League. I don't know how many more times/how many more ways I can say that! For the Nuggets, their young rookie Faried had a solid game. He got a lot of easy buckets on long outlet passes for a big dunk or easy lay-in.
NOT: Wes Johnson continues to struggle. Those struggles have been well-documented all season long. Derrick Williams also had an off-night. With Pek out, D-Will has been given a chance in the starting lineup, but he just HAS NOT produced. With Pek likely out for the remainder of this week, hopefully he can turn things around. Ty Lawson had 14pts & 5ast for the Nuggets but had a rough shooting night: 5-14 FG.
MISC.: The Wolves had six total players in double figures, beyond the above three: Beasley w/11, Tolliver w/10 & Webster w/10.......14 of Kevin Love's 21 rebounds were defensive.......The TWolves had six players with at least 3 assists: Williams (3), Love (4), Ridnour (6), Tolliver (3), Ellington (3), Lee (3).......Hamilton had 6reb in 17 minutes off the bench.......
KEY STATS: The TWolves knocked down a bunch of threes and hit the freebies (FTs). It's surprising looking at these stats though. The Nuggets shot a better percentage from the field, had more points off the bench: a +6, more points on the break: a +27, more points in the paint: a +26. The Nuggets' downfall was their poor three-point and free-throw shooting as well as their 17 turnovers.
FINAL NOTES: The Nuggets were without Danilo Gallinari (thumb), Rudy Fernandez (lower back) & Arron Afflalo (suspension) in this one......The TWolves were without Nikola Pekovic (bone spurs in ankle) & J.J. Barea (right thigh contusion)......
UP NEXT: Tuesday March 27th vs. the Memphis Grizzlies, @Fed-Ex Forum
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
The Minnesota Timberwolves are hoping that returning home, facing the Denver Nuggets will be enough to perhaps get them back on track following the longest road trip in franchise history that spanned 7 games and saw Minnesota travel over 5,000 miles, but return back home to the Twin Cities with a 2-5 record over that time (wins over Phoenix & Golden State).
Rick Adelman is hoping that he can prevent another Timberwolves late-season collapse that we as TWolves fans know all to well! Last season the Wolves finished the season on a 15-game losing streak and the year before that, they went 1-23 in their last 24 games! The difference this season? Rick Adelman vs. Kurt Rambis! Enough said!
The Denver Nuggets are looking for another W over the TWolves, a win tonight for Denver would be the 18th win in 19 meetings vs. Minnesota.
The TWolves are coming off that final game of the road trip that saw Kevin Love score a franchise record 51 points and J.J. Barea with a triple-double, but Minnesota fell to the Thunder in double overtime in what is being pegged as an 'instant classic'. Kevin Durant scored 40 & Westbrook added 45 as the Thunder pulled away in that second overtime for the W.
The Nuggets are coming off a loss on Friday night, as well. The Utah Jazz downed Denver 102-121. Al Harrington had 20pts & 10reb off the bench, Kenneth Faried added 16pts & 8reb, Arron Afflalo & Andre Miller both added 14pts apiece. The Jazz out-muscled Denver around the bucket and locked down on the defensively. With the Jazz winning that game there's now a three-way tie at the bottom of the Western Conference for the 7th seed between Utah, Denver & Houston. Those tiebreakers will be 'broken' by who won the season series' between the clubs (if the playoffs started today).
Let's take a look at who won't be available for Sunday's game...
Here's your likely starting lineups: Ridnour--Ty Lawson, Webster--Corey Brewer or Jordan Hamilton, Johnson--Wilson Chandler, Love or Williams--Kenneth Faried, Pekovic or Love--Timofey Mozgov.
Either Brewer or Hamilton will likely get the start at shooting guard, because during Friday's game vs. Utah Afflalo was called for a flagrant foul and was ejected--he now faces a one-game suspension. Wilson Chandler finally resigned with the team after his stint in China and has been inserted into the starting lineup because of Danilo's injury. Because, we don't know if Pek will be able to play, we may see that Williams-Love frontcourt, once again. Adelman may even consider starting Tolliver (who's been playing very well as of late) and have D-Will come off the bench.
FINAL NOTES: The Nuggets traded away Nene to the Washington Wizards and acquired young athletic center JaVale McGee in return. In the Nuggets' last game, McGee played 28 minutes off the bench and had 11pts, 6reb & 2blks........
PROJECTED FINAL OUTCOME: Denver 98, Minnesota 105
TIPOFF: The game will be tipping off at 2:30pmCT, Sunday March 25th from the Target Center.
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Disagree all you'd like, but you're wrong! That was the best game this entire season League-wide! A loss is a loss, but that was one 'helluva' game! There's no doubting that Minnesota could've played any better.
Kevin Durant & Kevin Love basically played a game of H-O-R-S-E in the final quarter and two overtimes.
The Wolves have nothing to 'hang their head' about in this one. Kevin Love set a new career-high in points with 51--which is also a new franchise record! The previous best was set by Kevin Garnett, who had 47pts vs. the Phoenix Suns on January 4, 2005. J.J. Barea had his first triple-double of his career with 25pts, 10reb, 14ast! The last time a Timberwolves player had a triple double was March 4, 2007 by Kevin Garnett! Minnesota's 140 points is a new franchise record, as well. The previous best was 134 vs. the Denver Nuggets on April 4, 1991.
Like I said in the preview, Kevin Durant is just unbelievable! It's like he's playing a video game and is some created player with his shooting stats spiked to 99. I can say without a doubt he's the best shooter I've ever seen--and I have no qualms about that!
Everytime the Timberwolves hit a big shot Kevin Durant and/or Russell Westbrook would simply jack up a three or zip through the lane for an easy bucket. It was rough!
Let's take a look at some of tonight's top performers, get a good look at these incredible individual stats...
HOT: Kevin Love, J.J. Barea, Anthony Tolliver, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, James Harden. That is all I have to say! Great games from all six of those guys!!
NOT: Martell Webster played just 22 minutes, shot 1-of-4 and finished with 4pts and a -17! For the Thunder, have to go with Derek Fisher. Wasn't quite sure why Fish was out there in crunch time as he missed shot after shot, but finally hit a three in the second overtime that added to a final 9-point win for OKC. Fish finished with 5pts on 2-of-11 shooting in 36 minutes off the bench as well as 2reb, 3ast & 1stl.
MISC.: Ridnour had 13pts & 8ast.......Ellington & D-Will both added 12pts apiece........Ibaka had 8pts, 9reb, 5blks, but only played 25 minutes due to foul trouble........Perkins added 12pts & 5reb........Collison added 11pts off the bench........
KEY STATS: The Thunder absolutely dominated the paint, their 74 points in the paint are a season-high for a TWolves opponenet......The TWolves bench outscored OKC's by a +16.........The Wolves' 17 turnovers leading to 26 Thunder points........The Thunder hit 11 more field goals and shot higher percentages from the field and the line..........In a game this close with 58 total minutes, there's not too many telling statistics........
UP NEXT: Sunday March 25 vs. the Denver Nuggets at Target Center--tipoff set for 2:30pmCT
Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!