Monday night, the Timberwolves are back home in the Twin Cities to host the Sacramento Kings. The Wolves are coming off a two-game road trip, facing the Hornets & the Hawks on back-to-back nights. The result? A 7-point win over New Orleans and a 2-point loss to the Hawks. The Timberwolves are now 4-8 on the year. The Kings are coming off a humiliating defeat at the hands of the defending champs: Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs crushed the Kings by 39 points; 99-60! You can expect these 4-9 Kings will bounce back and it should be a great battle at the Target Center.
The Wolves are looking for a bounce back victory following that 2-point loss to Atlanta, they had an 18-point advantage at one point, but the Hawks' second unit got them back in the game and they were able to steal the win in the final seconds of the game (you can find a full gameday recap in the previous post in this section).
Kevin Love has returned to form after a couple of rough nights; shooting from the field. Love shot his way out of the slump during the two-game road trip. Against New Orleans Love had 34pts & 15rebs while shooting 47% from the field. In the game vs. Atlanta, Love had 30pts & 13rebs while shooting 46% from the field. Clearly, for the Wolves to be successful Love needs to contribute with these kinds of scoring and rebounding outputs.
During that two-game road trip, Ricky Rubio got his first two starts of his NBA career and will likely now be a fixture in the Wolves' starting five. Against New Orleans, in 44 starter minutes (including all 24 second half minutes) Rubio had 12pts, 6rebs, 9ast, 3stls and shot 43% from the floor. In less time vs. Atlanta (35 min.) he had an even better game, scoring 18pts, 4rebs, 12ast, 5stls while shooting 48% from the floor. There's no doubt; when Rubio is on the court the Timberwolves play MUCH better, Luke's been playing great, but a small starting backcourt of Ricky & Luke has been more effective than I originally thought.
For the Kings, looking at their starting lineup, they basically start three shooting guards. At PG: Tyreke Evans, SG: Marcus Thornton, SF: John Salmons. You could also argue their starting frontcourt is two power forwards: J.J. Hickson & DeMarcus Cousins. Chuck Hayes was the starter until he dislocated his shoulder and is currently out. The problem with starting three shooting guards? There's no one looking to facilitate! No one who wants to get the assists! The Kings are currently 30th in the League averaging 14.2 assists per game. A lot of one-on-one basketball!
For Minnesota, you can expect they start that same lineup: Ricky, Luke, Wesley, Kevin & Darko. Against the Kings--they have a smaller starting lineup. That'll likely allow Luke to guard John, Wes to guard Tyreke & Ricky to guard Marcus. Against the Hawks, they struggled to match up vs. such a big lineup. I'm curious to see if Darko begins getting less and less minutes. Nikola Pekovic had a great game vs. Atlanta, in his first REAL game action (not just garbage time) in 17min. off the bench he had 7pts & 3rebs on 75% shooting. For a starting lineup looking to begin games "quicker" a better scoring center may move himself into the starting lineup...
It'll be a battle at the Target Center Monday night, I'm going to the game in what will likely be a packed house thanks to Kevin Love's ticket offer. I won't be going to the free Detroit game, but if you haven't checked out his 'offer', you should definitely do so, it's very cool! If you buy a ticket to the Kings game, Kevin Love will purchase your ticket to the Pistons game of the same value!
That's all I've got for now, I'll probably put up a few pictures and some updates via Twitter from the Target Center on Monday. You can follow me @donnycersado27 for that! Thanks for reading, enjoy the game, I know I will, GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!