The Timberwolves will be facing an up-hill battle the next two games as they'll be without their superstar--Kevin Love. Love was suspended for two games (this one & Wed. vs. MEM) for driving his foot into the upper body and face of Rockets forward Luis Scola. We'll get to the effects of that in a bit though.
Let's go through the rundown of keys and notes of this one...
1.) This will be the second meeting of these two teams. The first was a 99-86 win for the Wolves. In that one Love & Ridnour combined for 58 points (Love: 33, Ridnour: 25). They started the game slow, but in the final quarter were able to close the game out behind 11pts from Love & 8pts from Wayne Ellington.
2.) In that last meeting the Wolves were without J.J. Barea and Michael Beasley. They also hadn't got Martell Webster or Brad Miller back. Tomorrow night they'll have those four players, but they'll of course be without Kevin Love. I haven't heard anything on Darko Milicic yet, either way--we may be seeing Nikola Pekovic as the team's starting big man.
3.) In the last game, the Kings were without Chuck Hayes who had a dislocated left shoulder, he's since returned. He played 12 minutes in the Kings' last game vs. the Warriors. The Kings play the Hornets tonight (2/6) so we'll provide an update on the injuries, final score and keys of that one.
4.) The Kings have started a different lineup than they did when we first played them. In that last meeting the Kings started Evans, Thornton, Salmons, Hickson & Cousins. In the Kings' last game vs. the Warriors they started Evans, Thornton, Salmons, Thompson & Cousins. We may also see Hayes in the starting lineup as he was the Kings' starting forward before he went down with that injury. Something we'll definitely keep an eye on as the Kings face the Hornets tonight.
5.) With Kevin Love out, I'd expect either Michael Beasley or Derrick Williams to start at power forward. Also you can expect Anthony Tolliver & Anthony Randolph to see a bump in minutes (two guys who haven't been playing much recently).
6.) The Kings do play tonight (vs. Hornets). But they currently sit at 8-15 on the year. With the Timberwolves' win over the Rockets on Saturday they are at .500 on the season 12-12 and are tied at 10th in the Western Conference with the Memphis Grizzlies! Before this Hornets game the Kings are 2-11 on the road (the game vs. NOH is on the road so that record will change). For the TWolves who will be playing at home vs. the Kings on Tuesday are 6-8 at home this season and unlike MOST teams the Wolves have actually played better on the road then on their home court!
7.) There's a lot of things Love does for this team that we're going to finally realize. We won't have our force in the paint pulling down rebounds. The ability to attack from both the inside & out. The Wolves have players like Michael Beasley & Derrick Williams that are capable of all of those things. they're capable--but will they be able to perform? Big difference between being able and executing!
8.) The Wolves will have a battle in the post with two BIG bruisers: Pekovic & Cousins--a battle between two of the toughest and most physical big men in the NBA will be beyond fun to watch! Hopefully the Wolves' Pek will be the answer to DMC. But, the Wolves will have to come up with stops against the three guards the Kings start: Evans, Thornton & Salmons. It's obvious that the Kings aren't a basketball team that has a lot of players that like to share the basketball! The Kings rank 30th (last) in the NBA in assists a game. A big reason for that? Starting those three guards!
That's all for now. Stay tuned for an update to this post on the Kings' game tonight vs. the New Orleans Hornets. Until then, thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!