The Timberwolves will be hosting Jeremy Lin and his New York Knicks tonight at the Target Center. The Wolves will be wearing their Minnesota Muskies jerseys again--after wearing them last night vs. the Mavericks.
Let's be honest, if the the TWolves come out and play like they did against the Mavericks last night, you can chalk up another big game for Jeremy Lin and another win for the New York Knicks.
Like every other NBA fan, I'm curious to see if Jeremy Lin is actually the 'real deal'. He dropped a career-high 38pts on the Lakers last night. Sure the Lakers aren't as good as they were a year ago, but that's still a playoff-bound basketball team.
Let's get through all this Jeremy Lin talk, so we can get to the rest of the preview. Let's look at Lin's past four games as a starter...
Yeah, we all know before his breakout game the Knicks were very close to cutting Lin (before his contract became guaranteed). Lin was up against the likes of Deron Williams, Devin Harris, John Wall & Derek Fisher his past four games. Tonight Ricky Rubio will get the task of trying to guard a player on a HOT STREAK! Ricky's an underrated defender, we'll see if he can slow down this #Linsanity! I'd love for the Wolves to be the team J-Lin has an off-game against! In Lin's four starts as the Knicks' starting point guard they've gone 4-0. Before those games. The Knicks had lost 11 of their previous 13 games!
I watched some highlights from Lin's games vs. the Nets & the Jazz. He did a lot of slashing to the rim and had a handful of alley-oops to Tyson Chanlder--not too hard for a 7-footer, lob it up, let him catch it.
Want a fun fact?: Lin has gained 115,000 followers on Twitter this past week! I can't even break 50! I need a couple 25-point games myself, I suppose...
All right enough with the Lin-talk, let's actually discuss Wolves vs. Knicks...
1.) The Knicks will be without Amar'e Stoudemire who is with his family after his brother was killed in a car accident, he won't be back with the team until Monday. Carmelo Anthony has a groin injury that'll keep him out for at least 1-2 weeks. The Knicks are without their two stars, but they've still got Chandler & the phenom-Lin!
2.) Without Amar'e & Melo, the Knicks have started a lineup of: Jeremy Lin, Bill Walker, Landry Fields, Jared Jeffries & Tyson Chandler. Doesn't, in any way, shape or form, look like a formidable starting lineup. Though--no doubt, it's been effective.
3.) I'll admit the Wolves seem to have a very good chance of winning this one. I can't see the Knicks being able to slow down Kevin Love. Unless maybe the Knicks put Tyson Chandler on him, but then that leaves Jeffries to deal with the bruiser: Pek! The Knicks will also have to deal with the Wolves' depth coming off the bench: Beasley, D-Will, Webster, Barea, etc.
4.) I pray the Wolves will come in 'hungry'. Following an absolutely dreadful game vs. the Mavericks last night--if Minnesota comes out with no energy or effort, the result will likely be the same. The Wolves' very careless control with the basketball, they'll easily rack up the turnovers, the Knicks will rack up the points and the Timberwolves will take the loss!
5.) Matchups to watch. Lin vs. Rubio & Tyson vs. Pek! The Knicks' two best players (right now), vs. two young and rising stars (well, at least Rubio will be playing in the Rising Stars game at All-Star weekend).
6.) The Timberwolves need production from their starters! Let's be honest: Wesley Johnson & Luke Ridnour may be the problems right now. Luke has strung together back-to-back games that have been quite unimpressive! He's scored a total of 7pts the past two games and has been easily taken advantage of--vs. MEM (by Quincy Pondexter) and last night vs. DAL (by Vince Carter). The mismatches that a two-guard backcourt creates is beginning to become a real Achilles Heal. As for Wes--he belongs in the D-League! He's not playing like a 4th overall pick and he's being/been given the starting job from day one...never earning it! My opinon? Start Martell Webster & Michael Beasley--I won't/don't guarantee it'll work, BUT I don't doubt the starting lineup needs a change! The Wolves started the game, by letting the Mavericks go up 20-6 last night! Need further proof? Check out every first quarter the past few weeks--not exactly impressive basketball! That's what's been killing the Timberwolves--slow starts!
7.) All in all: limit turnovers: be smart with the basketball, contain Lin and go out there and play like you want to win! ENERGY & EFFORT!
That's all for now. I really do hope the Wolves hold Lin to 4pts, 3ast, 6tos and 1-12 FG. Then, we can move past the #Linsanity, because, to me, it's already gotten VERY OLD this past week. Right up there with the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors last season--never-ending and increasingly irritating! Thanks for reading HOWL and GO WOLVES!
Cody D. Anderson
A Wolves fan bringing you Gameday Recaps all season long!